Bhubaneswar: The Monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly began on Tuesday with members paying rich tributes to former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
They observed a minute silence after the proceedings began in the House.
The condolence motion moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was supported by the leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra and leader of the BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo.
Apart from the former Prime Minister, the House paid rich tribute to former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chattejee, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, former Odisha minister Jadunath Das Mohapatra, former MLAs Suryamani Jena, Muralidhar Kuanr and Braja Kishore Mohanty and Head Constable Sanjay Majhi, who sacrificed his life to protect the people from Maoist attack in Malkangiri district.
Paying glowing tributes to the former Prime Minister, the Chief Minister said the demise of Vajpayee was a great national loss, as much as a personal loss for him. “I will always cherish my association with the late Prime Minister especially as it was during the initial years in public life,” he added.
He also said that the former Prime Minister was an astute leader who showed to the world the art of managing a coalition government with its myriad diversities.
“He embodied a unique combination of grace, idealism and tolerance in politics. A true statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum. His depth of vision and understanding of issues was unparalleled. A man of firm principles and an idealistic poet, he was a true democrat who chose to lose on the floor of the House upholding the values of our Constitution. It is truly the end of an era,” the Chief Minister observed.
He also said Vajpayee had a large heart with a special love for Odisha, which was equally reciprocated by the people.
In his address, the leader of the Opposition said he had met Vajpayee on a few occasions. “Despite the difference in political ideology, I was profoundly impressed by his personality, behaviour and human touch. He believed in democracy and did not spare anybody who was not observing the ‘Raj Dharma’ whether he/she belonged to his party or the opposition,” he pointed out.
Describing Somnath Chatterjee as a great lawyer of the country and an outstanding parliamentarian, Mishra said he was the tallest and impartial Speaker of the Lok Sabha. “I had met him several times in Delhi. In a way, he was my friend, philosopher and guide. With his sad demise, the country has lost a great leader, who always fought for the poor and the downtrodden and to uphold justice,” he added.
He also described the death of Karunanidhi as a great loss to the nation.
BJP legislature party leader KV Singhdeo said, “The former Prime Minister, affectionately called as Vap Ji, was the greatest politician and statesman of this country. India has lost its worthy son and the people a visionary leader. He was a poet, philosopher, thinker, a great orator and a distinguished parliamentarian who put the nation before politics. He showed exemplary political acumen and leadership. Not only he led a coalition government of 33 parties, but also took India’s economic development to greater heights,” he said.
After the condolence meeting, Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat adjourned the House for the day.