Pradeep Pattanayak

Mayurbhanj Collector Vineet Bhardwaj and SP B Gangadhar have triggered a controversy by reportedly wearing T-shirts with the logo of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during a programme in Baripada. 

Taking serious note of it, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi slammed the Collector and SP. She took to her X handle and described the incident as very unfortunate and ridiculous. 

“Very unfortunate as well as ridiculous! Collector, Mayurbhanj, Odisha!  Degeneration of official standards to this extent. These officials must know that SEASON IS NOT THE SAME ALWAYS,” she wrote. 

She also retweeted the post of an X user asking the IAS Association if any Collector can attend a political meeting while he or she on duty.

“We Odia people seeing new variety of Indian law in Odisha (sic),” read the post. 

Later, speaking to mediapersons, Sarangi said, “There are a few who are forgetting that they should be governed by the Constitution. Their services have been placed at the disposal of the government of Odisha. Their services have not been placed at the disposal of the Biju Janata Dal. I would like to request the four to six officers to work keeping the constitution in view and not work as the workers of the BJD. I am repeating what I said ‘The season doesn’t remain the same. The season will change.”

“These officers are being watched. I would like to ask the state government as to why the district Collectors of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj have been there for five years,” she questioned. 

Congress leader and former OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan alleged that the Mayurbhanj district Collector and SP have started the election campaign for the BJD. “From this, it is known that the district Collector and the SP have started campaigning for the BJD. The Constitutional system has caved in and the service guidelines of the government employees have been violated.”

“The present picture of the BJD is telling a sorry state of affairs. Now, leaders have become government employees and the Mayurbhanj Collector and the SP are acting like the BJD’s district President and district secretary respectively,” he added.

Taking the side of his party, BJD MLA Rajkishore Das said, “She has written the word ‘unfortunate’ in her tweet. But I would like to say that her statement is unfortunate. She has lost her mental balance which is why she is giving such statements. Yesterday’s programme at Baripada was a government programme. What is wrong in the Collector and the SP attending the programme? What is wrong in them wearing the t-shirts having the CM’s photo?” 

When Mayurbhanj district Collector was asked about the legitimacy of wearing the t-shirt with the CM’s logo, he parried the question saying the programme was a government one.

Notably, the Collector and the SP took part in the marathon organised during an event in Baripada. There, they were spotted wearing T-shirts with the picture of the CM.

Notably, bureaucrat-turned-politician Sarangi and Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, editor of an Odia daily and BJD leader, have been critical of 5T secretary V K Pandian for the last couple of days. 

The war of words between Patnaik and BJD leaders over 5T secretary has come to such a pass that Energy Minister Pratap Keshari Deb told Patnaik to leave the party first and then criticise.

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