“I have surrendered not only RS poll affair but also all including my life to Lord Jagannath”
Renowned sculptor Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra is recently in news not for his artistic creativity but for his desire to enter Rajya Sabha. In a free chat, the distinguished stone artist said he has left everything on Lord Jagannath to decide.
Q, Raghunath Babu, Your hands are very strong because the chisel you are holding for the sculpture work. Now, the hands have become very soft as you are seeking vote to become Rajya Sabha member. Are you prepared to fight the poll?
A, I am not fighting the poll. I am just requesting you all to vote me if I deserve. Media is propagating all my activities and image. I came to know about the polls from the media. Later, my family suggested me to meet Naveen Patnaik and I did that. Naveen Patnaik supported me. Then I came to Jayadev Jena, but I did not meet him as he was unwell. Thereafter I met Lulu Mohapatra and put my proposal. So, I am requesting to all for the purpose. But, I have no big ambition for that.
Q, As per the poll equation, BJD has 20 votes for you and Congress has 27 for your rival Ranjib Biswal. At this point are you optimistic about the victory?
A, Let me make you very clear that I consider victory and defeat as same. I have done a lot for Congress and also for BJP. During the period of Nandin Satpathy in 1974, I was awarded Padmashree. During the the tenure of VV Giri as president, I had got National Award. As the Congress party was in power, it recognized me for the awards. Similarly, I have also done many things during the BJP government. So, if they would not think me as a right candidate, I will never feel sad. I always have trust on Lord Jagannath. He can make everything possible. You must have known about Kanchi Abhijan episode. How Lord Jagannath made possible to all odd things.
Q, You are going towards ‘Pauranic age’. You should come to the political field as you are contesting for MP. Are you aware about the equation for the polls.
A, I am not a man of politics. I am also not so educated. My education background is only standard III. So, how can I analyse Rajya Sabha poll statistics. I have not even thought of politics.
Q, Then, why did you file nomination for the Rajya Sabha if you do not have any interest towards that?
A, Only the reason is that the second Konark which is my dream. I would raise the voice for that. The stone art of that temple are gradually decreasing. So, I thought about a second temple in Odisha. All of my efforts is for that only.
Q, You claimed that BJP would support you while the party has not yet been cleared its stand. How can you assert that BJP will vote for you? As you are saying BJD is supporting you, why the party did not keep in the list of three?
A, I have met leaders of the BJP, BJD and Congress seeking their co-operation. All have assured me. I do not know why BJD did not take me among three. Even I did not know how many candidates the party is sending to the Upper House. I liked to be an independent candidate. Because, I have respect for the leaders of all parties.
Q, If BJP extends support, then you will have 27 votes. Ranjib will have also equal numbers. Have you talked to any Independent legislators?
A, It does not matter whether I will win or Ranjib Babu. I have talked to one Independent MLA, Jitu Patnaik. He just assured me to look into the matter. I have never talked to any other MLAs. After all, I have surrendered all including my life to Lord Jagannath. He is one to decide my fate.