Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 24:
The state BJP today came down heavily against the state government and accused it of playing petty for not providing a ground for the public meeting of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to address a mass convention in Bhubaneswar on February 11.
“Even though we had requested the School and Mass Education department to allow us to hold the convention of Modi at the Capital High School ground about a month ago, the department is yet to communicate its decision in this regard even after repeated interaction with the departmental secretary Usha Padhi,” said senior BJP leader Samir Mohanty at a press conference here.
Mohanty said the party had requested for the ground on December 26 last year after being told that the other grounds in the city, including Janata Maidan and Exhibition Ground, were not available on February 11.
While the Commissionerate Police has already given its consent to the Capital High School ground as the venue since it would be best from the security point of view, the School and Mass Education department is sitting over it, the BJP leader said.
“The chief minister does not know how to welcome the Gujarat chief minister, who is a state guest. I don’t know why the government is not allowing a ground to hold the convention. Is it fear of Modi or some other reason? If the government does not respond to our request by tomorrow, it will be responsible for law and order problem that may arise in the coming days,” said Bhrugu Buxipatra, convener of Modi visit, serving a warning of sorts to the government.
Accusing the department of playing footsie, he said if the government is not ready to provide the ground, then it should organize an alternative venue to hold the meeting, which cannot be cancelled any way.
“Sometimes, the department officials are stating that the file is under process. At other times, they are saying they have not received any letter in this regard,” Buxipatra accused.
It is to be noted that two days ago, School and Mass Education Minister Rabinarayan Nanda had refused to allow holding of the meeting at the Capital High School ground saying government guidelines do not permit the use of school grounds for political purposes.
The BJP leaders reminded the government of chief minister using a public meeting at the SK Academy School ground and also the use of the Swami Vivekananda College at Jagatsinghpur as a helipad during the urban body polls, which the party had brought to the notice of state election commission (SEC) alleging violation of poll code.