Himansu Shekhar Rout

A day after the Odisha government announced January 17 as a holiday for the inauguration of the Srimandir Parikrama project in Puri, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pressed for declaring January 22, the day of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ of Lord Ramlala at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, as a holiday in the state.

The state BJP leaders cited examples that several other states have declared the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ day a holiday, apart from imposing a ban on the sale of liquor and other narcotic substances on that day. 

BJP leader Dilip Mallik said, “The Pran Pratishtha’ of Lord Ram has been an outcome of a 500-year-old struggle. The day is being perceived and regarded as an auspicious and sacred day. It is a matter of emotional attachment with Lord Ram for Hindus in the country. Hence, the people of Odisha want the day to be declared a holiday. We hope the state government should pay heed to the demand of the people.”

The BJP leader also said that the state government should also impose a prohibition on the sale of alcohol and banned substances that day. “We hope that the state government will honour the emotion of the people as far as the Pran Pratishstha day is concerned,” he added. 

However, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Muna Khan said, "All the  BJD workers and the government officials are now busy with pre-inauguration activities of Lord Jagannath’s Srimandir Parikrama project and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is working for the promotion of Sri Jagannath culture.” 

“There is some time left for the Ram Temple inauguration. It is not wise for anyone to wade into such a controversial matter,” he observed.