Bhubaneswar: A day after BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided to set up a Heritage Cabinet and Odia Language Commission to promote Odia language, the opposition – BJP and Congress today came down heavily on Patnaik slamming his poor Odia language skills in the last 20 years of his political life.
Former minister and senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan criticized Patnaik for not learning or speaking Odia language in 20 years of his political life.
“He (Naveen Patnaik) is the only Chief Minister who doesn’t know his mother tongue and didn’t even show the interest to learn the language in the last 20 years. A leader who was least bothered about Odia in all these years, has now all of a sudden started advocating for the mother tongue and its development,” taunted Harichandan at a press conference here.
The veteran BJP leader confidently claimed the latest move by the State government is only targeted at pleasing the common people and to garner votes in the upcoming elections.
“The State had Odisha Official Language Act, 1954, but the BJD government made ‘Rules of the Odisha Official Language Act’ last year. Till today government offices do not follow Odia language with letter and spirit. And, it’s now to see how the government implements the act,” he added.
“Why Naveen waited for several years to implement the language act?,” the former minister questions by claiming people know it is another trick by the BJD government.
Congress too criticized BJD government and Patnaik over the poor usage of Odia language in official communication and in commercial establishments.
Senior Congress leader and Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati termed the move a “double stage drama”.
“It is a double stage drama by the BJD government keeping an eye on the upcoming Assembly election,” the Congress leader alleged.
In reply, the BJD said the opposition political parties are feeling jealous whenever the ruling party launches some good initiatives.
Senior BJD leader and government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said the person, who is taunting the BJD for heritage cabinet, had worked as minister in the State government for nine years. “He (Harichandan) had not uttered a single word for Odia language that time. Now, he is opposing it for the sake of opposition,” said Satpathy claiming the Chief Minister genuinely wants to promote the Odia language.