Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 1:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been the target of opposition attack for his inability to speak and write Odia, was today targeted on the issue by his party man and Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Charan Parida.
“On the occasion of Utkal Divas, we expected that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will implement the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954; however, he didn’t. The language of governance has become English at all levels starting from panchayat to the Secretariat. He has failed us all the Odias,” said Parida launching a frontal attack on the Chief Minister today.
While he has been associated with the ‘Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani’ that works for the promotion of the language and have advised the Chief Minister to learn the language and use it in governance earlier, he always managed to stop short of a direct attack as we reported here, here, here and here.
Curiously, the renewed vigour comes at a time when Parida’s Rajya Sabha term is about to expire this July 1. Besides, given Naveen’s preference in selection of organisational men and crowd-pullers for Rajya Sabha, he stands a little chance for a re-election, opined a political analyst.
Parida, however, was not alone in his attack as both BJP and Congress joined in to chide Naveen over his incompetence in the language.
“Congress led UPA Government gave classical language status to Odia. What has the Chief Minister done? The language is yet to be made the official language of the state only because of the negligence of the State Government,” accused PCC President Prasad Harichandan.
“He neither likes to use Odia language, nor does he like to interact with Odia people. It is unfortunate,” said senior BJP leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan who worked closely with Naveen in various capacities earlier.
Ruling BJD, as expected, defended their party chief.
“It is untrue that the Chief Minister doesn’t give due importance to Odia. The government has taken concrete steps to popularize the language and has made budgetary allocations in the recent budget for various such schemes. It wouldn’t be possible if he did not want it,” defended Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda.