The Centre has decided to accord national icon status to Biju Patnaik and 10 other personalities from different parts of the country.
Cutting across party lines, leaders welcomed the move to recognize Biju, one of the Odisha’s most charishmatic politicians as a national hero.
Congress leader Narasingha Mishra, who was a law minister in Biju’s cabinet (1990-1995), said whatever might be the motive, any recognition for Biju was always welcome. The Centre should move a step further and confer the Bharat Ratna on him.
While the names of the seven icons were announced on Thursday, the names of the remaining icons will be announced later.
Other names are Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyay, Hindi writer Bhisham Sahni, freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, Maharana Pratap, 1857 rebellion hero Tantya Tope and Naga spiritual leader Rani Gaidinliu.
A government source said the birth anniversaries of the national icons would be commemorated at the national level in 2015 and 2016.
Since the birthday of Biju Patnaik is March 5, the Centre would commemorate his birthday from next year.