There is no two way about the popularity that Biju Patnaik enjoys even after more than two decades of his demise. For some he was a brave pilot, and for others he was a leader with a vision.
On his death anniversary, as Odisha remembers the son of the soil, we bring you an interesting anecdote of a meeting between Biju Patnaik and APJ Abdul Kalam.
It is said it was the missile man of India Abdul Kalam, who wrote to Biju Patnaik, seeking permission to use Wheeler island for defence testing. On one of the visits, when APJ Abdul Kalam was explaining how far the experimentations can strengthen India’s defence, Biju babu was so surprised that he jokingly offered to rename the Wheeler Island as APJ Abdul Kalam Island, if the Missile Man could achieve so many feats.
But, as fate would have it, the island was indeed renamed as ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Island’ by Biju Patnaik’s son Naveen in 2015. Sadly neither Biju babu nor Abdul Kalam were alive to witness it.