Odisha Assembly today adopted a resolution seeking "Bharat Ratna" for freedom fighter and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.
"The House adopted a resolution empowering the state government to make a demand before the Centre for conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik posthumously and observe birth centenary of the legendary leader next year," Speaker Niranjan Pujari said after the House adopted the resolution moved by the government chief whip Ananta Das.
Das had yesterday moved a motion on the 'Role of Legendary Biju Patnaik during freedom struggle and nation building after Independence'.
None of the opposition members were present when the House adopted the resolution. Opposition Congress, BJP and CPI-M are keeping away from the House to protest the suspension of Congress MLA Nabakishore Das by Speaker Niranjan Pujari for seven days on the charge of watching objectionable video on mobile phone in the house on Monday.
At least eight ministers and 20 MLAs participated in the debate which began yesterday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the younger son of Biju Patnaik, however, did not take part in the debate.
BJD lawmakers said the legendary leader had been honoured with the highest civilian award by Indonesian government and the government of Russia. National flags of three nations were therefore draped on his body in his funeral, they said.
Rout also said how Biju Patnaik had contributed to the security of the country during Chinese aggression in 1962 and war with Pakistan in 1965.
"Biju Patnaik had a major role for which Jammu Kashmir is now part of India. Biju Babu carried V K Krishna Menon to Kashmir in his plane and convinced Raja Hari Singh to keep Jammu and Kashmir with India," Rout said.
When Pakistan along with some other nations announced war against India in 1965, the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Sashtri sought Patnaik's help to ensure that Indonesian naval warship do not come to the rescue of the enemy country and Patnaik used his personal relation with President Sukarno and stopped Indonesia's warship moment, he said.
Government Chief Whip Ananta Das said, "Biju Babu suggested Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to select Wheeler Island for test launching of missiles instead of setting up a National Test Range at Baliapal in Balasore district. Then, Dr Kalam and his team visited the island and found the place most suitable place in the world for missile testing."
The House was adjourned sine-die after the resolution was adopted.