Missing Ratna Bhandar key: BJP leader questions party’s role during coalition

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has sought clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the missing Ratna Bhandar key, senior party leader Bijay Mohapatra questioned what steps were taken by his party regarding Ratna Bhandar during the nine years of coalition government.

Quoting the statement of Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati, Mohapatra said the Law department was under the BJP during the coalition government between 2000 and 2009. What changes and reforms were brought in the rituals of the Srimandir by the BJP during that period, questioned Mohapatra.

“From the year 2000 to 2009, the Law department was under the BJP. However, no reforms were undertaken in Srimandir management or rituals during the period. Attempting to cover up a fault is not acceptable,” said Mohapatra.

He further questioned how many times the Ratna Bhandar was opened during the tenure of the coalition government.

“How many times review meeting of the temple administration was held during the nine years? What steps were taken regarding the temple management? What meetings were held in which year and what decision was taken? The truth will come to fore after a Commission is formed,” he added.

In response to the allegations, BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said “Bijay Mohapatra was an influential minister in the Cabinet of Chief Minister Biju Patnaik during the year 1990 to 1995. The ‘Nagarjuna Besa’ fiaso occurred during that period and GM Mohapatra Commission was formed in 1993, but the report of the probe Commission is still missing. Has Mohapatra ever questioned if inspection of Ratna Bhandar was carried out during that period?”

Senior BJP leader, Biswabhusan Harichandan, who was the Law Minister during the coalition government, also said that discipline and servitors’ welfare were the main focus areas while he was in office. There are some people who give such comments without knowledge of the facts, he added.