Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came down heavily on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the inauguration of Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa in Puri on Monday. BJP’s Odisha unit president, Manmohan Samal termed the Prakalpa as a party programme, saying that Lord Jagannath does not belong to any party.

He made this statement while taking part in a sanitation drive on the premises of Ram Mandir in Bhubaneswar on Monday. 

When some reporters asked the BJP leader whether he is going to attend the inauguration of the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa in Puri, Samal said, “The inauguration of the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa is purely a party programme. Lord Jagannath is not with any party. People should decide if we should attend the inauguration or not.”

He said that Jagannath used to come out of Srimandir only during the 9-day-long Rath Yatra to meet devotees. "Jagannath belongs to the Lord of the Universe and He is the leader of all people. Jagannath can never be a part of any party," he added.

BJD leader, Amar Prasad Satpathy dismissed BJP’s allegation, saying that the Srimandir Parikrama Prakalpa is not being done on a partisan line, but it is a religious programme.

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“The project will be scripted in history. Researchers can only say after how many years such a transformation of the Srimandir has taken place. Gajapati Maharaj has said that all will revisit the history.  This is a novel and unique programme. The project will bring joy for the devotees of Lord Jagannath and culture lovers,” he added.

He also said that the Gajapati Maharaj and Dharma Gurus are attending the programme.