Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Rajya Sabha MP and Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) chief Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on Saturday took potshots at chief minister Naveen Patnaik for not learning Odia language in the past 16 years.

“I am surprised that he has not shown any interest in learning the Odia language. How can you rule a State without knowing the language of the soil?" asked the estranged mentor of Patnaik.

Making a sarcastic comment on Naveen, the parliamentarian stated, “The CM didn’t learn the language despite being given two books in 2000.Had he evinced the slightest interest, he would have learnt the language by this time,” Mohapatra said.

The comments of the OJM leader came in the wake of the arrest of some Congress leaders, who tried to sneak into Naveen Nivas this morning with some teaching materials in their hands in an attempt to teach the CM Odia language.

Sources said, president of Students' wing of Odisha Congress, Itish Pradhan has been detained by the police in connection with today’s incident. With Odisha observing its 80th Foundation Day yesterday, the Congress party had raised question on the CM’s Odia learning ability.

Responding to media queries on the visit of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Prasad Harichandan yesterday, while the MP clarified that they had a courtesy call to make a query on his health, criticised the BJD for not turning up.

"They (Pradhan and Harichandan) had come to me as I had undergone an operation few days back. I was happy to see them. But I am dissapointed that none from the ruling party came to ask about my health condition," Mohapatra stated.

On the MP's comment, BJD however said that it is a personal matter completely.

"To visit an ailing person is a personal affair and it should not be mixed with the party matters," BJD's Sameer Dash said.