Himansu Shekhar Rout

The backdrop of Goddess Charchika in Banki was reportedly found decorated with a green saree with the patterns of conch on Friday. Since the conch is the symbol of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), it has triggered a controversy and taken a political colour. 

It triggered allegations by locals that the divinity is also being dragged into the party politics while the incident drew condemnation from some local servitors. 

As per reports, there is a tradition at the shrine that the goddess wears a new saree in the morning after the snan ritual. Today, after a red saree was draped around the idol,  its backdrop was decorated with a green saree with prints of conch. 

It was learnt that such a scene at the shrine occured hours before BJD’s MLA candidate for Banki seat Debi Ranjan Tripathy, son of former MLA Prabhat Tripathy, filed his nominations on Friday.

However, there is no confirmation if the saree offered to the Goddess has any link with the prelude to the nomination filing of the BJD candidate.   

On the other hand, servitors condemned such an incident.

Sanjay Rana, a servitor said,”This is unfortunate and condemnable. The saree with conch symbol which was offered to the goddess has hurt the sentiments. Offering a saree with a party symbol to the goddess is not acceptable. Other parties will also offer sarees with their party symbols.”

BJD downplays issue

However, BJD leader Santosh Kumar Rana countered the servitor and tried to down play the controversy. He said, ”Maa Charchika is the presiding deity of Banki. All parties have respect and devotion to the goddess. The goddess is often offered sarees with various patterns and symbolic signs. Those looking only at the conch in the saree have a skewed and biased attitude.”

He observed that all BJD leaders are devotees of the goddess, but some people have politicized the issue on the saree with the print  of conches on it.