Himansu Shekhar Rout

In a bid to apply pressure on the state government to open all the four gates of the Srimandir and the Ratna Bhandar, Odisha Congress will launch Tulasi Yatra across Odisha from December 1.  

As per the plan, the Congress workers will collect Tulasi leaves (basil leaves) from each panchayat and the leaves will be offered to Lord Jagannath on the Bada Danda (The Grand Road) in Puri.

Addressing a press meet in Bhubaneswar on Monday, the president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), Sarat Pattanayak said that the BJD government has stood as a barrier between the devotees and the deities in Srimandir. 

“The Congress will be on this yatra to overthrow the government. Devotees of Lord Jagannath, culture lovers, and Congress workers will take part in this yatra touching all the villages,” he added.

The Tulasi leaves will come from the Panchayat level to the block level and from there, the party's district unit presidents will carry the leaves to Bhubaneswar.

“The collected Tulasi leaves will be carried in a rally from Bhubaneswar to Puri. The Congress workers will walk on the Bada Danda carrying the leaves which will be offered to Lord Jagannath,” the PCC president said. He warned that if the state government turns a deaf ear to the demands, the party will start agitations across the state. 

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However, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) countered the Congress, saying the Yatra would make no impact on the people. 

BJD MLA Prasanta Kumar Muduli observed, “Let the Congress go on Tulasi Yatra, stage Block gherao, panchayat gherao, etc. All such programmes need to strike a chord with the people. The BJD under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been carrying out a lot of development in the state. People are so impressed by the BJD’s development agenda that they are not in a position to listen to what the opposition parties will speak about the government. The yatra will not impact the mindset of the people.”

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