The Vice President of India, M. Hamid Ansari has said that Shri Biju Patnaik was not just a political leader; he was an aeronautical engineer, an air-force pilot, an entrepreneur, a man of unimpeachable integrity and a freedom fighter; a true nationalist, and still the interests of his beloved Odisha always were close to his heart. He was addressing at the Centenary Celebrations of Shri Biju Patnaik, here today. The Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, the Minister for Industries, School and Mass Education, Government of Odisha, Shri Debi Prasad Mishra, the Minister of Women and Child Development, Planning and Coordination, Government of Odisha, Smt. Usha Devi and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President said that there was a generation of leaders who played a role across national borders in service of good causes and Shri Bijyananda Patnaik, or Biju Patnaik as he is lovingly called, was one such leader. His international profile was such that, in a rare occurrence, national flags of three nations- India, Indonesia and the USSR were draped on his body at his funeral, he added.
The Vice President said that Shri Biju Patnaik was a firm believer in democracy and was a socialist at heart and he shared Pandit Nehru’s vision of an India steeped in scientific temper and saw technology as the key to solving India’s myriad problems. He further said that Shri Patnaik strongly believed in socialism and federalism and he had a vision for the growth and development of his beloved Odisha. He was the natural entrepreneur and founder of Kalinga Airlines and Orissa Textile Mill as he was, he wanted agrarian feudalism to be dismantled and Industrial Revolution to take place, the Vice President added.The Vice President said that we pay respects to a great leader, a hero to his people – a visionary, an ideologist who inspired adventurous ideas. He lives on not only in the memories of people who have met him, but people who have heard of him and read about him and his legacy continues to inspire us, he added.