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Bharat Ratna for Biju Patnaik sought

india Updated: Jan 14, 2008 20:25 IST
Bharat Ratna

Lobbying for Bharat Ratna continued on Monday with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding that the country's highest civilian award be conferred on his father late Biju Patnaik.

"There have been demands for conferring Bharat Ratna to Biju Babu earlier too, but now we will do this in a dignified and correct manner to suit the legendary personality," Patnaik, who is also the president of Biju Janata Dal, said.

Patnaik's remarks come close on the heels of BJP stalwart L K Advani's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking Bharat Ratna for Atal Behari Vajpayee and similar demands for BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Several leaders of the ruling BJD in Orissa have recently demanded that Bharat Ratna be bestowed posthumously on Biju Patnaik, saying that his contributions merited the coveted honour.

They also pointed out that Biju Patnaik has been conferred several prestigious civilian honours in Indonesia and Russia but he was not given proper recognition in India.

Biju Patnaik was a freedom fighter, industrialist and statesman, they observed.