Bhubaneswar, Mar 23 (PTI) On the centenary of Mahatma Gandhis first visit to Odisha, the state assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution seeking incorporation of the word 'Ahimsa' (non-violence) in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
Leader of the House and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik moved the resolution as the Assembly conducted a special discussion on Mahatma Gandhi who had visited the state for the first time exactly 100 years ago from Tuesday.
The members offered floral tribute to the statue of Gandhiji on the Assembly premises before the beginning of the discussion. Speaker S N Patro suspended Question Hour, Zero Hour and time slot for discussion on an adjournment motion for holding the special debate on Gandhiji.
The special discussion in the House coincided with the statewide celebration of the 100 years of Mahatmas visit to Odisha.
The Father of the Nation had visited the state eight times and 'I am glad that this August Assembly is commemorating the 100th anniversary of Gandhijis first visit to Odisha on 23rd March, 1921,' He said.
During his visits, Patnaik said, Mahatma Gandhi had extensively travelled in different parts of the state and interacted with cross-sections of the people. His visits created greater awareness about various social issues apart from energising the Freedom Movement.
His philosophy is one of the greatest contributions of India to the world, the chief minister said.
Noting that there is also an increasing polarisation and divisiveness globally, Patnaik said Gandhi's commitment to pluralism and his message of tolerance and harmony is as relevant now as it was then, Patnaik said.
The Mahatma's non-violent resistance is a spark that ignited peaceful movements around the world, he pointed out.
'And what better place to remember this eternal idea than on this land, the Land of Kalinga, that inspired the repudiation of war by Ashoka two millenniums ago?' the chief minister said.
Congress Legislature Party Leader Narasingha Mishra also welcomed the resolution.
'Gandhiji was a great worshiper of non-violence. His ideology should be part of the Constitution,' he said.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, PK Naik of the BJP, said that tributes to the Mahatma can only be reflected in 'how much we all have lived up to inculcate his doctrines in our lives'.
Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick said that Gandhiji was in favour of women empowerment and against casteism.
BJP deputy leader B C Sethi described Gandhiji as the second name of 'peaceful revolution' while senior Congress leader Suresh Routray said that Gandhi was fond of Odia cuisine such as 'Dalma'.
Congress Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said that it would be a fitting tribute to Gandhiji if the state government declares total prohibition in Odisha.
Speaker S N Patro said that Satyagraha, Quit India Movement and discarding foreign goods are some of his great contributions to the country apart from the mantra of Ahimsa.
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