Mrunal Manmay Dash

Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a protest at the Berhampur Municipal Corporation’s (BeMC) office in the Silk City on Thursday and submitted a memorandum to the Commissioner demanding the opening of the famous Ramlingam Park, which has been in the centre of controversy over alleged partying by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders, for the public immediately.

The saffron party has vehemently opposed the dinner parties hosted inside the park by BJD leaders while putting curbs on the entry of the general public by the local administration.

Ramu Patra, former district President of Ganjam BJP said, “There is a Shiva temple inside the park which is revered by many in the district. Eating non-veg food inside the park premises is destroying the sanity of the temple and we condemn the act by the BJD leaders.”

“The local administration should immediately stop the ruling party leaders from indulging in such things, otherwise we will be forced to enter the park and ‘purify’ the area with Ganga Jal and cow dung water,” Patra cautioned.

It is worth mentioning here that on Wednesday, Odisha Television Limited OTV) had aired the news about how the authorities had shut the park gates for the public while allowing BJD leaders partying inside had created a stir and invited sharp criticisms from various quarters.

Deputy Commissioner of the Berhampur Municipal Corporation, Asutosh Samal told reporters on Thursday, “The BJP delegation submitted a memorandum today. We will scrutinise their demands and act upon it if deemed acceptable by us.”

When asked about the alleged VIP culture in allowing BJD leaders partying inside the park while prohibiting entry of common man, Samal tried to downplay and said, “It was a temporary restriction for the public to use the park. We will open it soon.”

Notably, the park meant for the recreation of the locals was occupied by MLAs and Ministers of the ruling party who are visiting the city to look after the implementation of smart school programme.

The information board put up at the park said it is closed for visitors from August 18 to 30. However, after dusk the park is turning into a hub for amusement of the BJD leaders. A large number of BJD leaders, Ministers and their supporters reportedly gather at the park for partying which continues till late in the night.