Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 30:
Over a month after the incident, Odisha Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy Monday broke his silence on the issue of commandeering a bullock cart carrying articles of the Banajaga Yatris trailing the daru sagadi (cart carrying neem log) for carving of Lord Jagannath’s idol and defended himself saying he had committed no mistake as a devotee of Lord Jagannath in doing so.
“I am a devotee of Lord Jagannath. As a devotee, if carrying His articles is a sin and serving devotees by halting the four darus is a sin, then I am prepared to take that sin on my head bending down. I am not a coward,” said Maharathy.
The Pipili legislator stated that the bullock cart he commandeered for some distance was carrying the belongings of the Daitapatis and not the daru.
It may be recalled that Maharathy had kicked up a controversy on May 21 by travelling with the Banajaga Yatris on a bullock cart from Pipili to Teispur.
Dressed like a priest, Maharathy was seen sitting on the bullock cart trailing the daru laden cart.
However, earlier, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had announced that nobody other than the priests can sit on the carts meant to carry articles of the Banajaga Yatris.
The cart carrying wood for Jagannath’s idol had halted at Pipili, Maharathy’s constituency, on May 20 evening and resumed its Puri-bound journey on May 21 evening.