Bhubaneswar, Jan 22 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today dedicated to the people of the state the Ideal Chief Minister award conferred on him by an institute in Maharastra.

The award was conferred on him yesterday and Patnaik dedicated it to the people at the rousing welcome given to him on his return at the airport here.

Patnaik’s party – the BJD had organised a special programme at the airport to welcome him. Thousands of people including ministers, MLAs and MPs of the ruling party participated in it.

I am indebted to your love and affection. I dedicate the Ideal Chief Minister award to my dear people of the state, Patnaik said.

He urged the people to work hard to make Odisha the “number one state” in the country.

Patnaik had yesterday received the award from former President of India Pratibha Devi Patil at the 8th Bhartiya Chhatra Sansad organised by MIT World Peace University (MIT WPU) and Pune’s MIT School of Government.

Opposition BJP and Congress have criticised the award.

“It appears to be a sponsored one like the previous Best Administrator Award to Patnaik by a Delhi based magazine,” BJP spokesman Pitamber Acharya told reporters at a press conference here.

Congress spokesman Sarat Rout said, “How has Patnaik been chosen as the Ideal Chief Minister when his government failed to protect the interests of Odisha in the Mahanadi river water dispute.”

BJD spokesman P K Deb rejected the criticisms and said “There were several eminent persons, including some BJP leaders in the jury that selected Patnaik as the Ideal Chief Minister.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.