During a live broadcast on a social networking site, BJP stalwart Dharmendra Pradhan had compared Lord Jagnnath’s age-old ritual of Chhera Pahanra with the Central Government’s Swacchh Bharat campaign. Taking exception to it, BJD leaders criticized Pradhan for allegedly insulting the Jagannath cult by comparing the two.
Verbal sparring between ruling BJD and BJP is increasing by the day. Of late they have launched verbal volleys at each other over a number of issues, the latest being union minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s remarks comparing Swachh Bharat Mission with the Lord Jagannatha’s chhera panhara (sweeping of chariots).
During a live broadcast on a social networking site, Pradhan had spoken about the two events it the same breath and had compared Lord Jagnnath’s age-old ritual of Chhera Pahanra with the Central Government’s Swacchh Bharat campaign.
Taking exception to it, BJD leaders criticized Pradhan for allegedly insulting the Jagannath cult by comparing the two.
Referring to the ritual, in which Gajapati Maharaja of Puri sweeps the floor of the chariots (Chhera Panhara), Pradhan had said,“Jagannath Sanskruti is linked to Swachhata.”
BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “This will certainly hurt the sentiments of the devotees of Lord Jagannath. Anyone who has done politics over matters related to Lord Jagannath has encountered defeat in the past.”
Pradhan said, “The BJD is trying to mislead the people by raising such non-issue to divert their attention from the missing of keys of ratna bhandar (treasury of Shree Jagannath temple).”
Pradhan had also invited BJD’s criticism for his statement on the proposed construction of second Konark temple. The union minister, who had visited Lingaraj temple along with sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra who has been recently nominated to Rajya Sabha said that people of Odisha are glad that Mohapatra’s dream to build a second Sun temple will be fulfilled. “His presence in Delhi will support his cause and earn recognition for the sculptors of Odisha”
Mohapatra had last year announced of his plans to build the second Sun temple along the Puri-Bhubaneswar national highway, which will be known as Aditya Narayan Temple.
Reacting to Pradhan’s statement, BJD leader Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “ BJP should not play politics on Konark temple issue.”
In another development, the state government and the BJD today boycotted the foundation stone laying of National Skill Training institute, proposed to be set up in Barang in Cuttack district at an estimated cost of Rs 160 crore. Though State’s Skill Development Minister Usha Devi and Cuttack’s BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab were invited to the function, they did not turn up.
On the other hand, the state government put up big hoardings projecting skill development activities as its own achievements. Reacting to it, Union Skill Development Minister Pradhan said, “The Central government has released crores for the skill development projects in Odisha. But the state government has failed to utilize a single pie on skill development. Skill development cannot be achieved through newspaper advertisements and hollow speeches”.
BJD Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said, “The Central government is imposing its own schemes on the state”.