Pradeep Pattanayak

Already in the crosshairs of the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for planning to inaugurate the Puri Srimandir Praikrama Prakalpa ( Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project) ahead of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is preparing for the inauguration of the Maa Samalei Temple Project. 

The Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration ceremony is all set to be held on January 22. On the other hand, the Puri Srimandir Praikrama Prakalpa ( Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project) and the Maa Samalei Temple Project are scheduled to be held on January 17 and January 27. The state government’s decision to celebrate the two events before and after the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration ceremony is viewed as the ruling BJD’s plan to counter the mega event and garner mileage for itself. 

Also Read: Srimandir Parikrama Project inauguration: Preparatory meeting held at Puri palace

As of now, the Maa Samalei Temple Project is said to be the focus of the state government. To make it a huge success, a closed-door meeting involving the ruling party’s top leaders of Western Odisha was held at a hotel in Burla on January 4. 

Though it was then said that the meeting was an organisational one, BJD leader Rita Sahu spilled the beans and said the meeting discussed how each and every house could be connected to the inauguration of the Maa Samalei Temple Project. 

“The meeting discussed about the Puri Srimandir Praikrama Prakalpa and the Maa Samalei Temple Projects. It was discussed how everyone could receive the blessings of Maa Samaleswari,” she said.

On the other hand, the BJP termed BJD’s 'mileage politics' ridiculous. 

“They (the BJD) took 25 years to complete the Maa Samalei Temple Project even though there was no dispute or litigation. The construction and consecration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is the fruit of a 500-year-long struggle. It has witnessed the sacrifices of so many people and many struggles. If they are comparing the Maa Samalei Temple Project to the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, people will laugh at them,” said BJP MLA Nauri Nayak. 

Moreover, the ruling BJD's sudden shift of focus to Western Odisha is viewed as a strategy to neutralise BJP’s clout. 

“It is quite obvious that the BJD is organizing its inauguration event ahead of the Ram Temple consecration ceremony as a counterattack,” said Siba Meher, a political analyst.

  • Reported by:
  • SANJAY JENA
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