Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
Friends and foes alike expressed profound grief over the death of former Odisha Chief Minister and Assam Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik, who breathed his last at a private hospital in Tirupati in the wee hours today.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led the condolence messages pouring in from all quarters saying Patnaik was a great figure in Odisha politics. Known for his political acumen and administrative ability, he had withstood the test of time in politics.
“He had profound knowledge in art, culture, tradition and literature. He was an erudite scholar as well as an acclaimed journalist. As Union minister and Chief Minister for a long time, JB Patnaik immensely contributed to the development of the state,” the Chief Minister said.
He also said as the leader of opposition in Odisha Assembly, Patnaik had contributed immensely to the legislative process and was always constructive. During his tenure as Governor of Assam, he played a key role in strengthening cultural ties between Odisha and Assam. He was an institution in himself.
“What is more significant was that he remained relevant in public life till his last breath. JB Patnaik will be remembered as a multi-faceted personality who influenced the socio cultural and political life of Odisha for a long period. His death marks the end of an era in Odisha Politics. I extend my deep condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace,” Naveen said.
Recalling the lavish praise showered on JB by President Pranab Mukherjee, leader of opposition Narasingh Mishra said; “I was astonished the way the President of India Pranab Mukherjee was all praise for Janaki Babu while unveiling a book written by him at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi recently. Apart from the President, eminent litterateur and senior Congress leader Dr Karan Singh had immensely praised his work. Why Odisha, the entire nation has lost a great leader.”
“I am deeply shocked to know the sad demise of Janaki Babu. His place will remain vacant in the state for a long time. He was an astute politician, a litterateur of highest order. Leaders of all political parties used to meet him personally and take his advice. I had met him recently and never thought he would leave us so early. His 15-year tenure as chief minister can be called as a golden age for Odisha,” Mishra said.
Descrbong the death of JB Patnaik is the ‘saddest event in this decade’, Cooperation and Excise minister Damodar Rout the void created by him can never be filled.
“A successful man of complete personality, he had excelled as a journalist and editor. Once in politics, he rose to eminence as a Union minister, chief minister and governor though sheer hard work. One of his greatest qualities was he never lost his temper at any criticism by the opposition parties. His manner of presenting his constructive criticism in the State Assembly was a model for all the members. For his depth in Sanskrit language, he was regarded as one the leading scholars in the country. I don’t think the void created with the death of Janaki Babu would be ever filled,” was how the seniro BJD leader condoled his death.
Recalling his long association spanning half a century, former minister and senior BJD leader Surya Narayan Patra said Odisha has lost a great leader with his death.
“My relations with Janaki Babu date back to 1960. I used to stay at his house at Cuttack when he was the editor of Prajatantra. After quitting Prajatanta, he had stayed in Brahmapur for some days. During his stay there, he had formed an NGO in which I was the secretary. Later, he came back to Cuttack to bring out an Odia monthly magazine Pourusa. Later, he joined Congress in 1971. Though we became the members of two opposite parties, the relations had remained intact. He had helped me in a number of occasions in times of my need,” said Patro.
PCC president Prasad Harichandan echoed the Chief Minister saying with JB’s death, an era has come to an end. “While he was alive, he was a living legend and will remain as a legend after his death. He will be remembered not only a leader of Odisha but also a leader of national stature,” said the man who is perceived as the veteran Congress leader’s protege.
In his condolence message, Rajya Sabha MP Ranjib Biswal said; “I am deeply hurt by the death of JB Patnaik. Apart from being an erudite scholar, he had a profound influence in Odisha politics. He was not only the Chief Minister of Odisha, but also a leader of the state. The State Congress has lost an asset with his demise.”
Congress chief whip and Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said JB’s death was a great loss for the party.
“He was a great scholar, academician and administrator. He had a great love for Odisha. He was a savior for the teachers of Odisha. During his tenure as Chief Minister, the teachers were recognized as government employees. Apart from this, Janaki Babu had done a lot for the Odisha police,” Bahinipati said.