By Bizodish Bureau, Bhubaneswar, January 27, 2018: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Saturday urged the Indian government to confer the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to legendary leader and former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik.

Speaking at the launch event of the book ‘The Tall Man-Biju Patnaik,’ a pictorial biography of Biju Babu, Gowda said, “I strongly recommend that the Government of India should confer Bharat Ratna award on Biju Patnaik for his exemplary service before and after independence; he richly deserves the highest Indian award.”

Gowda recounted his relation with Biju Patnaik saying that he was the most adventurous politician and the book must be translated in all Indian languages so that every Indian would know about Bijubabu.

Launching the book, former President Pranab Mukherjee, said, “I know him (Biju babu) from close quarters. I and my family have received lots of affection and love from him. It is a pride for a short man like me to attend the book release ceremony of tall man Biju babu.”

Speaking on the occasion, senior BJP leader & former deputy prime minister, Lal Krishna Advani said with emotion, “Though I had attended several book release functions, I have not got a chance to attend this kind of a ceremony. I am proud to be present during the release of a book on the legendary leader Biju Patnaik.”

Another guest at the ceremony, CPI(M) party chief Sitaram Yechury said, “Biju Babu started his political career in the year when I was born. Probably I am not eligible to speak about him. We have grown up listening stories of his valour especially his efforts to upkeep democracy are memorable.”

Senior journalist and columnist Prabhu Chawla reviewed the biography titled ‘The Tall Man – Biju Patnaik.

Presiding over the launching of book ceremony, Biju Patnaik’s youngest son and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Bijubabu is an idea in continuity, ideal of realizing the bredth of human aspirations, an idea of Odia self esteem, selfless service and empowerment”.

The book is written by noted researcher Sundar Ganesan and the function organised by the Biju Patnaik Birth Centenary Committee. The proceeds of the book will be used for humanitarian causes, the Odisha chief minister announced.

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