Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 25:
If the Odisha government had calculated that the suspension of two Daitapatis would help blow away the storm gathering over the gross irregularities in the Brahma Parivartan of the deities, the most important ritual of the entire Nabakalebara process, it had obviously underestimated the extent of outrage over the issue in the state.
Even as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) began a week-long protest in all district headquarters of the state today and the BJP announced a week-long, state-wide protest from June 30, Youth and Students’ Congress activists today fought a pitched battle with the police here after they were prevented from marching to Naveen Nivas, the residence of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Twin City commissioner RP Sharma said about 40 Youth Congress activists had been taken into custody for violating Sec 144.
VHP activists sat on dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan here and lambasted the state government for its inept handling of the Brahma Parivartan ritual and the entire Nabakalebara process at large.
“It is the government and the temple administration, who are responsible for the sorry mess that we have landed in. Had it not been for their support, the servitors would not have dared defy the Shankaracharya and the Gajapati Maharaja,” said a VHP leader.
Even as the VHP was holding the dharna in front of Raj Bhavan, BJP president Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo was addressing a press conference at the state party headquarters where he announced the week-long protest throughout the state from June 30.
“We will go to the people and explain to them why it is not possible for the temple administration to take action against the ministers and senior leaders of the ruling party responsible for the mess,” Singhdeo said.
Senior leader Bijay Mohapatra said the government had made a mockery of the entire Nabakalebara process starting from the Banajaga Yatra to the Brahma Parivartan. “They cannot escape responsibility by suspending two Daitapatis,” he said warning that party leaders would fan out across the state and lead the protest from June 30 till July 6.
While June 30 is still some days away, what is giving sleepless nights to the Naveen Patnaik government is the dawn-to-dusk Odisha bandh called by the Congress tomorrow. Going by today’s ‘dress rehearsal’ by the Youth Congress, it apprehends that a down-in-the-dumps Congress would strain every sinew to put up a show of strength tomorrow on this highly emotive issue.
Though it has been close to three years since the event, memories of the September 6, 2013 Congress rally here have come back to haunt the minders of the government.
The clearest possible sign of the government’s discomfiture is the heavy police bandobast at the residences of Law minister Arun Sahu, Food Supply minister Sanjay Dasburma and SJTA chief administrator Suresh Mohapatra – besides of course Naveen Nivas, which has been converted to a veritable fortress.