Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 17:
After BJD MP Nagendra Pradhan got Odisha Government in trouble over farmer suicide, yet another voice from the ruling party has spoken up. This time it is the turn of Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Parida who took on Naveen Patnaik himself and called the usage of English in governance “illegal” while addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar today.
“He (Naveen Patnaik) claims that he knows Odia and that he makes his speeches in this language. If he knows everything, then Odia language should be used for governance. How he wants to get it done is his prerogative, but Odia has to be implemented as the medium of administration,” said Parida taking an obvious jibe at his party boss.
“There has been a law since 1954 (Odisha Official Language Act, 1954) to get the administrative works done in Odia language. Now it is still being carried out in English. This is illegal. The Chief Minister and leaders of our party should understand this,” he added.
Parida, who also is the President of Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani, announced state-wide demonstrations on November 23 demanding implementation of the official language for administrative purposes.
BJD leaders, however, were quick to defend their party boss over the issue and even managed to find reasons for non-usage of Odia in governance.
“The Chief Minister does his signature in Odia and has been making continued efforts for the betterment of the language,” said Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani without explaining the specifics.
BJD Spokesperson Samir Dash took a more diplomatic route.
“The government should use Odisha Official Language Act, 1954. It is in fact largely in force already. But, it is not possible to use it in cent per cent cases. Hindi should have been used as official language across India. But you see English is being used in many cases there. Same is the case here and English is used only when Odia can’t be used. It is not right to say that the governance in English is illegal,” said Dash.
It may be mentioned here that Parida created controversy back in July this year when he sent the Chief Minister a post card written in Odia language urging him to use the language. “If you can’t facilitate governance in Odia, you don’t have any right to rule Odisha,” he had said speaking at a meeting of the Odisha Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani on July 7 in Bhubaneswar without naming Naveen.