Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 7:
BJD Odisha Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Parida today created quite a stir when he took an obvious dig at his party boss and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s inability to speak Odia.
“If you can’t facilitate governance in Odia, you don’t have any right to rule Odisha,” commented Parida while speaking at a meeting of the Odisha Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani here.
Curiously, the MP stopped short of taking it up directly with the Chief Minister even though he did send him a post card written in Odia language that the Chief Minister doesn’t understand and encouraged other people to send post cards to the Chief Minister urging him to use the language.
“Dear Chief Minister, Odia is an ancient language with a rich heritage. For the first time in India, Odia was accepted as the official language of the state with the passing of Odisha Official Language Act, 1954. Unfortunately, even as other states run their administration in their mother tongue, this has not been possible in Odisha. This is leading to ever diminishing interest in Odia. Please take necessary steps to make Odia the language of education, administration and judiciary,” read Baishnab’s letter to the Chief Minister.
Hundreds of members of Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani also joined the MP to send post cards to the Chief Minister seeking mandatory usage of Odia in education, administration and judiciary.
The matter didn’t end there as Baishnab claimed that the Chief Minister tried to avoid the issue earlier.
“The Chief Minister says how this (implementation of Odisha Official Language Act, 1954) can be possible now, if it has not been implemented for so long. Now, the judges can’t give a verdict in Odia and the officers can’t write a few lines in Odia. Odia has been long neglected now. We need to create pressure on the government to accept our legitimate demand and make Odia the official language,” said Parida.
It may be noted that another group named ‘Odia Bhasa Sangram Samiti’ has been organising a fast unto death in Bhubaneswar since July 1 demanding the implemnetation of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954 in the state, the very same cause Baishnab raised today. Poet Gajanan Mishra has been fasting at the venue for seven days now and his condition is getting critical. But the government is yet to take any concrete steps to accept the demand.