By DN Singh
There couldn’t have been a better commemoration to the memory of the legendary political personality Biju Patnaik by the chief minister Naveen Patnaik than what he made possible by the proposed Integrated Steel Plant in Kendrapara.
Kendrapara remained the centre stone of Biju babu’s political activities right from his initiation into politics, after a long inning as an ace pilot and building an industrial empire later on.
Fondly addressed as a ‘maverick’ politician by his critics, Biju babu was much taller than a mere politician who always considered a risk as an unavoidable professional hazard yet he raced on his career graph as a daredevil.
Sitting on an armchair in the patio of his modest residence, overlooking the airport, Biju Patnaik had an obsession to focus his attention on Kendrapara which he had made his ‘Karma bhoomi’ that gave him glorious victories and shocking failures sometimes.
Nevertheless, he had knitted dreams of taking Kendrapara high and higher as a sound hub of economy and politics as well. But many of his dreams remained unfulfilled such as jacking up the area as an industrial base for the people he was in love with .
Dreams Come True
As his son and as the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik has gifted his legendary father best by signing an MOU with the Steel major Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel for setting up a 12 MTPA integrated steel plant in Kendrapara.
Biju babu can be remembered as the Godfather of Industrial promotions in Odisha right from Paradeep Port to transforming the parched bosom of Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district, into an industrial destination. \
A Mass Leader
Biju babu was known for his unconventional way of doing things and this pursuit of decades had, perhaps, taught him that, there is no greater victory than being with the masses. Which ultimately made him a mass leader than being a mere politician.
His visions, besides the state subjects, were far more visionary in essence. He was the man who tried to make economic criteria as the touchstone of preference for backwardness, not mere cast.
He was way ahead in his thoughts to speak for the creation of India as loose federalism and it was he, who weaved the concept for fiscal autonomy for the states in the country.
He was astonishingly outspoken as a person who never chose hypocrisy as a tool in life to manipulate and also, he always believed that, power by force was never worthy of his personality.
Neither he ever ran agog in victory nor he has shown the impulses of defeat. When he lost elections, he was only stoic in all his traits.
From several interactions with the legendary man, this author could realise that Biju Patnaik had a great irritation towards any subtlety of mean manoeuvres to be in power.