In the article which was published in leading Odia dailies on Thursday, Patnaik expressed his joy on attending Murmu’s swearing-in ceremony.
He was among the 100 people from Odisha who attended the ceremony at the central Hall of Parliament on July 25.
Patnaik began his article ‘E Mati Ra Kanya’ (Daughter of this soil) by quoting from Murmu’s oath “I Draupadi Murmu do swear in the name of god,” and said Murmu taking oath of the office as the President is the moment of pride for every Odia. It was an honour for me to be part of the historical occasion.
The chief minister said that he was highly moved by Murmu’s first address to the nation after taking oath of office in which she said that her election has proved that a poor person of the country can dream and achieve it.
“It is a matter of pride for all the 4.5 crore people of Odisha that a woman from culturally rich Mayurbhanj district has made it … Murmu has made every Odia proud,” Patnaik, who is also the chief of ruling BJD, said.
A remarkable aspect of the new president is that she is also a mother, Patnaik said. “Mother as a symbol of creation has always occupied a special place in our society. All mothers have been source of strength for the society and the nation at large,” he said.
Patnaik used the opportunity to iterate the state government’s “pro-women and pro-tribal” efforts. He said it has already reserved 50 per cent reservation for women in local body elections, both urban and rural, and 33 per cent reservation for them in assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
He said of the 30 zilla parishads in the state 21 are headed by women, who also take play the lead role in more than 50 per cent of gram panchayats, municipal corporations, municipalities and notified area councils. “The biggest achievement is that today more than 70 lakh women are involved in our Mission Shakti program and are getting empowered financially,” he said.
Patnaik said that during his tenure, more than two decades in office his priority all along has been the uplift of the poor, the neglected women and backward sections of the society, especially the tribal brothers and sisters. Many programmes are underway to empower tribal children through education and bring them into the mainstream.
Elaborating on his efforts to boost the condition of tribals and to uphold their cause, Patnaik said that he had proposed the name of late PA Sangma, a prominent tribal leader from Meghalaya in the 2012 presidential election.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the name of Murmu as the presidential candidate, I had immediately welcomed it,” Patnaik said and added that he had appealed to all MLAs of Odisha to support her.
BJD had put up posters and banners across the state showing Murmu tying a rakhi on Patnaik’s wrist.
Patnaik concluded his article by calling upon the people of Odisha to adopt Murmu’s vision. She had quoted from Odisha’s saint poet Bhima Bhoi’s famous lines ‘Mo jiban pachhe narke padi thau, Jagat udhar heu’ (My life is not bigger than the greater good of the world) during her first address to the nation.
Patnaik’s article comes in the midst of a raging controversy over the President being called ‘Rashtrapatni’ by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, a remark which has sparked protests from the BJP.
Pakhala on Rashtrapati Bhavan menu
In a matter of pride for every Odia, Pakhala (watered rice), the popular dish from the state has been added to the menu of the Rashtrapati Bhavan for its new occupant.
Reports said that other additions are Sajana Saga (Drumstick leaves stir fry) and Alu Bharta (mashed potatoes) have also been added to the menu as per Murmu’s requirement.
(With inputs from agencies)