Bhubaneswar: The state government is busy celebrating Biju Patnaik’s birth centenary across the state and in Delhi, yet it is not able to find space in the Parliamentary building for a statue of the legendary Odia leader who was active in national politics for long. Meanwhile, mostly busy in Tamil Nadu politics, Jayalalithaa’s statue might soon be erected in the Parliament building, thanks to a strong lobby by her followers.
Though Biju Patnaik’s name is used as a brand in Odisha politics for garnering votes and the ruling party named after the leader has 20 MPs of Odisha’s 21 Lok Sabha seats and 8 BJD members and one supported independent candidate in Rajya Sabha of the 10 seats for the state, there has been no demand or debate by them to install a statue of the leader in the Parliament, except for rare references.
Though his contribution towards the country is greater compared to Andhra Pradesh’s NT Rama Rao or Tamil Nadu’s MGR, DMK leader Murasoli Maran, former Maharashtra CM YB Chavan, Tamil Nadu leader K Kamraj, Annadurai and other leaders, Biju Patnaik is yet to get the recognition while their statue is present in the Parliament premise.
In fact, not a single Odisha leaders’ statue is present in the Parliament, not even the prominent leader Harekrushna Mahtab who played a significant role in integration of princely states after independence. However, as a compensation his picture is seen in the Parliament building. But Biju babu’s picture too never found place in the Parliament.
As per the Lok Sabha speaker’s instruction, due to lack of space no more statues will be set up in the building including Biju Patnaik and Mahtab’s statues. However, it seems Tamil lobby has found its way for Amma’s statue.
In fact, Odia politicians have given up. At a function for freedom fighters, MP Prasanna Pattasani said, “We tried a lot but in vain.” Former MP Baishnab Parida said he had laso tried several times but their applicatiosn for statue of Odia leaders were rejected since the demand was not strong whereas Tamil Nadu and other states present a strong demand.