Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday targeted the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the Srimandir Parikrama Raths which started rolling in different parts of Bhubaneswar to propagate Jagannath culture.

BJP’s Prithviraj Harichandan said, “CM Naveen Patnaik and his former Private Secretary are forcefully burdening Odia people with South-Indian culture. We have been vehemently opposing their ploy to disfigure Jagannath culture. This Parikrama Rath is nothing but an attempt to wash their tainted faces before the election.”

“Rs 160 crore public money, which is going to be spent to show off the project, is a political drama. BJD spending public money for their election campaign is a condemnable act,” said Harichandan.

In response to BJP’s allegations, senior BJD leader and MLA, Padmanabh Behera said, “We are all children of Lord Jagannath. If we would not take Lord Jagannath’s name then who will? If some people take it otherwise and smell something different, then we do not have anything to comment on that.”

The Parikrama Project is going to be inaugurated and the people of Odisha are waiting for that day. Where is the question of politics in here,” asked Behera.

Notably, the Srimandir Parikrama Project Raths have been taken out in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area from today. The Srimandir Parikrama Project chariots will cover a total of 67 wards within two days from today.

The Yatra started from Jagannath temples or the temples of their presiding deity in every ward and Sankirtan mandalis of every region are participating in this. The BMC has handed over the responsibility of collecting betel nut (gua) and arua rice from every door. The civic body has formed a committee to conduct the event peacefully.

A unit or cluster has been formed with each of the three wards. The corporators have been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing route charts of the parikrama chariots.

“The Lord has blessed us to serve him today. Bhubaneswar residents are glad for this Parikrama Project. Their dream is going to be reality very soon. To mark this occasion, the residents are offering a betel nut and some arua rice as a token of their dedication and devotion for Lord Jagannath,” said Bhubaneswar Mayor Sulochana Das.