Bhubaneswar: Gandhiji was a sant, a social reformer who taught India the principles of solidarity, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said today.
Inaugurating the National Integration Conclave here on Wednesday, Patnaik paid rich tributes to the Father of the Nation on his sesquicentennial birth anniversary and said Gandhiji was the symbol of national integration.
The Chief Minister expressed his happiness that Bhubaneswar is hosting such a conclave on Gandhiji when the entire world is celebrating his 150th birth anniversary. This conclave is jointly being organised by the freedom fighters’ samiti of the state and Gandhi Peace Foundation.
The Chief Minister said the ideals of Gandhiji teaches us the principles of getting rid of poverty, inequality, violence and added that these are still relevant in the present-day society. He urged the people to follow these principles so that they can rid themselves from problems.
Patnaik welcomed the move for a signature campaign being conducted to incorporate the word ‘Ahimsa’ in the preamble of the constitution of India.
The President of state Freedom Fighters’ Samiti Bhabani Charan Patnaik presided the inaugural ceremony. Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, noted Gandhian and Sarvodaya leader Prerana Desai said the relevance of ideals of Mahatma Gandhi is being discussed worldwide in the present-day society. She said it is heartening to note that those who have been opposing Gandhiji for seventy years are now showering praises on him. They are celebrating Gandhi Jayanti more than others, Desai said.
The Sarvodaya leader said RSS chief Mohan Bhagbat has urged people to follow the ideals of Gandhiji for the establishment of a better world. If the RSS has respect for Gandhiji and his principles, then Sangh Parivar must come forward to apologize for the blunder they had committed 70 years ago. She dwelt upon activities of Gandhian leader Amarnath Bhai who had followed the ideals of Gandhiji.
She said Britain has already tendered apologies for Jalianwallabag massacre. It is high time that the Sangh Parivar must come forward to admit its mistake for assassination and opposing the principle.
The conclave was attended by MP Prasanna Acharya, minister Raghunandan Das, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, MLA Debi Mishra, Anant Narayan Jena, Sushant Rout, advisor of youth affairs Bijay Kumar Nayak and chief coordinator of the conclave Upendra Padhi.
The president of freedom fighters’ samiti of Kendrapara, Nakula Charan Das and state general secretary Bijay Kumar Tripathy garlanded the Chief Minister at the outset of the programme. Basudebpur MLA Bishnubrata Routray recited Gandhiji’s favourite Bhajan ‘ Vaishnav Janeto….’. The new CD of Routray’s song was released on the occasion.
The Chief Minister inaugurated a photo exhibition based on Gandhiji which was organized by information and public relation department. The programme was attended by the secretary of the department, Sanjay Singh, director Krupasindhu Mishra and secretary of Odia literature and culture Manoranjan Panigrahi.
The first inaugural session was presided over by Prasanna Acharya, MP. Noted columnist Das Benahur and coordinator of Gandhi Smaraknidhi Dr Biswajit attended the programme as guests of honour.
Member of district cultural association, Jajpur, Suvendu Kumar Bhuyan coordinated the programme. The Secretary of Gandhi Peace Foundation, Birupakshya Tripathy proposed the vote of thanks.
Earlier in the day the Chief Minister had garlanded the statue of Gandhiji in the Assembly premises and paid rich tributes to him.