The impeccable leader of Utkal who said from the stage, if I want, I can make Indira Gandhi dance in front of everyone.

That’s when Biju gave his consent for this mission. This time Biju was given an old Dakota plane for Indonesia’s operation and in this plane he flew to Jakarta with his wife Gyan Devi. But the Dutch army tried to kill him as soon as his plane entered Indonesian airspace. After this Biju landed his plane near Jakarta and from there with great care, somehow the Sultan of Indonesia came to Delhi with Shahryar and Sukarno.

After this Sukarno Azad became the first President of Indonesia. For this act of bravery, Biju Babu was given an honorary Indonesian citizenship and was awarded the ‘Bhoomi Putra’ award of Indonesia.

Not only this, in 1996, Biju Babu was also honored with Indonesia’s highest national award ‘Bintag Jasa Utan’.

Biju Babu’s friendship with Sukarno was such that when Sukarno’s daughter Meghavati was born, she was also named by Biju Babu. It is said that it was raining that day, so Biju Babu named her as Meghavati Sukarnoputri. Meghavati Sukarnoputri became the President of Indonesia in 2001.

Meghavati Sukarnoputri (forward), who was the President of Indonesia, was named by Biju Patnaik.
Meghavati Sukarnoputri (forward), who was the President of Indonesia, was named by Biju Patnaik.
Remembering this contribution of Biju Babu, Indonesia has now named a room of its embassy in Delhi after him. Dedicating this room to Biju Babu, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Siddhartho Reza Suryodipuro, remembered his contribution to Indonesia’s freedom struggle and said that this room would play an important role in preserving his memory.

Biju Babu’s political innings
After independence, Biju Patnaik started doing Congress politics in the 50s. In the late 50s, he was made the state Congress president and finally in 1961 he was made the chief minister. In 1977, he was made the Minister of Steel and Mines in the government of Morarji Desai, while in 1990 he again became the Chief Minister of Odisha from the Janata Dal and remained the Chief Minister for the entire term. In the meantime, Biju Babu formed many parties and broke many parties.

Biju Patnaik was also known for his brashness and arrogant nature.
Biju Patnaik was also known for his brashness and arrogant nature.
‘Utkal’s bull’
Biju Babu frequently clashed with politicians throughout his political career. Quite a few politicians could handle Biju Babu properly. His critics often called him a democratic dictator. He was also known as Utkal’s bull. Let us introduce you to 3 anecdotes of his rudeness and political silliness.

  1. When asked to get Indira Gandhi to dance

It was the year of 1967 and only a year had passed since Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, at a conference of students in Cuttack, Biju Babu spoke while speaking,

“If I want, I can get Indira Gandhi to dance in front of you guys on this platform.”

His statement created a ruckus and eventually parted ways with Indira Gandhi, whom he often addressed as Indu. After this he formed his own regional party in the name of Utkal Congress. Later in the days of Emergency, like other opposition leaders, he was also imprisoned. After his release from jail, he merged his party with the Janata Party and was made Minister of Steel and Mines in Morarji Desai’s government.

  1. Supporting Sanjay Gandhi by staying in the Janata Party government

Biju Babu was very fond of building big industries, undertakings, ports, airports etc. The Paradip Port of Odisha is considered to be the gift of Biju Patnaik. But after becoming a minister in the Janata government, he went to jail while opposing Sanjay Gandhi in the Emergency, he supported the same Sanjay Gandhi’s Maruti Udyog Limited. At that time, Biju Babu believed that public cars should be made accessible to the common man and there is no harm in it if Sanjay Gandhi is making any effort for this.

But praising Sanjay Gandhi in the Janata Party at that time was like inviting disaster. The same thing happened with Biju Babu and eventually distance started from his Janata Party leadership. Which culminated in the split of the Janata Party in 1979. Biju Patnaik also played a big role in this partition along with Charan Singh, Madhu Limaye, Rajnarayan and Karpoori Thakur.

Biju Patnaik with leaders of United Front
Biju Patnaik with leaders of United Front

  1. Confronted his own party’s Prime Minister VP Singh on Mandal Commission

This was the period of 1989-90. There was a Janata Dal government both at the Center and in Odisha. VP Singh was the Prime Minister and Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister of Odisha. In fact, Biju Babu had a big role in making VP Singh the Prime Minister too. In December 1989, sitting with Arun Nehru and Kuldeep Nayar in Odisha Bhavan itself, Biju Babu had made a complete plan for the coronation of VP Singh by making Devi Lal a pawn and giving Chandrashekhar a bet. But in August 1990, as soon as VP Singh raised the slogan of the Mandal Commission, Biju Babu stood up against him and started criticizing him sharply. Biju Babu then criticized VP Singh and said,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *