Rich tributes were paid to legendary Biju Patnaik on his 20th death anniversary today with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik noting that Odisha was growing with an inclusive agenda of development based on the late leader's "spirit and vision." Political leaders cutting across party lines and people from all hues paid rich tributes to the leader and recalled his contribution in building modern Odisha. "Our endeavour is to achieve Odisha's development in all spheres based on his (Biju Patnaik's) spirit and vision.
Our agenda for development is an inlusive agenda," Patnaik said at a function held on the occasion at the BJD office here. Pointing out that people belonging to all segments are included in the journey for development, he said women are in the forefront as all sections of society are benefitted by programmes designed to ensure food security for poor, women's empowerment and farmers' welfare. As the focus is also on ensuring welfare of labourers and safeguarding the rights of dalits and tribals, all segments of society are enjoying the fruits of the invlusive agenda, the chief Minister. Describing Odisha as a welfare state in letter and spirit, Patnaik said it is a model for many other states in developing an ideal welfare mechanism. He said that growth rate of the state has been higher than the national average for several years as visible development has been achieved in economy, infrastructure, education, healthcare and other spheres. Earlier, Naveen Patnaik, son of the late leader, offered floral tributes to his father at a function in the Assembly premises. Patnaik, who is the BJD president, also visited the Biju Patnaik memorial in Puri to pay homage. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), named after the legendary leader, organised a host of programmes across the state in an apparent exercise after BJP's national executive meeting, which concluded here yesterday. A motor-cycle rally was taken out by BJD workers in the state capital as a mark of honour to the late leader as several party leaders sought Bharat Ratna to Biju Patnaik, who is considered as the architect of modern Odisha.