Pradeep Pattanayak

The non-invitation of Bhubaneswar MP and BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi to Bhubaneswar’s 75th foundation day for the second consecutive year has stoked controversy. 

Slamming the State government over the development, Aparajita said it reflects the nature and character of the government. She also said that she will bring a breach of privilege motion in the Parliament over the disrespect to the constitutional position.

The Capital City’s foundation day was observed in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Speaker of the Assembly, two Ministers, three MLAs, the Mayor, the Chief Secretary, all the administrative officials and the president of the organising committee were present on the dais. However, Sarangi was missing among them. Though she is representing Bhubaneswar in the Parliament, she was not invited to attend the ceremony.

On Wednesday, a list of the names of the guests to attend the celebration was released by the Information and Public Relations Department. However, the name of Bhubaneswar MP was missing from the invited guest list. 

As it happened twice in as many years, MP Sarangi took strong exception to this and termed it as a ‘repeat performance of last year’. 

Taking to her Twitter handle, the Parliamentarian wrote, “On 75th capital Foundation Day tomorrow, State Govt, Odisha & @bmcbbsr NOT to invite the elected Member of Parliament of Bhubaneswar! It is a REPEAT PERFORMANCE of last year. Humiliation of the people of Bhubaneswar once again! Is it INTENTIONAL?”

In another tweet, she attached her last year’s letter sent to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and said, “My letter drawing the attention of Hon’ble CM Sri Naveen Patnaik regarding non-invitation to me last year is here. No positive response from Hon’ble Sri Naveen Patnaik. Is it deliberate? OR indifference?”

“It reflects the nature and character of the State government. It reflects the level of the government’s ego. I am the elected MP of Bhubaneswar. It’s an insult to the people who have elected me. The post of an MP is a constitutional one. It is not obtained by the grace of the government. And since it is Bhubaneswar’s foundation day celebration, it is not the Biju Janata Dal’s own programme. The state government should introspect. The state government should ask itself why, who and at which level this is being done. I will definitely write and raise the issue on proper platforms,” said Sarangi. 

Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sought cooperation from one and all to make Bhubaneswar more beautiful through his tweet. However, not inviting the MP of Bhubaneswar to the foundation day celebration has raised a question mark over the intention of the State government.

When asked, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor, Sulochana Das tried to evade the question by saying that all were invited to the programme. 

BMC commissioner Vijay Amruta Kulange said, “The responsibility was given to the Capital Foundation Day Committee. I will let you know in this regard after confirmation.”

On the other hand, the convener of the Foundation Day Committee, Pradosh Pattnaik said that their suggestion to invite the MP was ignored.

“We suggested them at every step to invite the MP. Even our vice president had given them a list of the persons to be invited to the foundation day. However, it was ignored. It is quite unfortunate. The government is organising the programme this year. They have only sought suggestions from us,” said Pattnaik.

Notably, the controversy between Aparajita and the State government is not new. She has often put the State government in a tight spot over several issues including the Srimandir Heritage Corridor, violation of rules in the development of Ekamra Kshetra and eviction at Ganesh Mandap hat. In reply, the government has often turned vindictive by sealing her office. Even eggs and tomatoes have been hurled at her.

Now questions are being raised over the intention of the State government.

In his response, Minister of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Minister Ashok Panda said, “She should welcome the development works that the Chief Minister is doing. Instead, she has been looking for faults. It suggests she has a jaundiced eye.”

Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray said, “It is our constituency. So, invited or not invited, we should come. We have been attending this programme for the last 35 years. If she comes the next year, we will invite her. Bhubaneswar is not anyone’s ancestral property.”

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