Orissa to demand Bharat Ratna for Biju Patnaik - Naveen

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 14 (UNI) After the BJP and BSP, it was the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) in Orissa which had joined the race in demanding "Bharat Ratna", the highest civilian award of the country for its leader Biju Patnaik posthumously.

Orissa Chief Minister Biju Patnaik told newspersons here that there had been demands from within and outside the state to confer the ''Bharat Ratna on Biju Babu'' and '' we will present the demand in a dignified manner''.

Earlier, several leaders of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had also demanded that the award be conferred on Biju Patnaik.

Former Minister and BJD MLA Damodar Rout said Biju Patnaik's contribution during freedom struggle and during the Indonesia struggle for Independence was well known.

Though he had been conferred with civilian award in Indonesia and Russia, he had not received his due recognition in India, Mr Rout said.

State Energy Minister S N Patro, former Minister Padmanav Behera and BJD MLA Bikram Verma too had made similar demands and said Biju Patnaik was a unique personality and needed to be honoured.

While the BJP wanted the "Bharat Ratna" to be conferred on their leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BSP demanded it to be conferred on Kanshi Ram, the founder of the party, posthumously.

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