Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack/Bhubaneswar:  Continuing with its strategy to corner Odisha government, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) on Monday once again trained its gun on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over missing of Ratna Bhandar keys seeking his clarification whether the key is actually lost or has intentionally been misplaced.

Addressing a presser in Cuttack, BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya said the State government admitted that Ratna Bhandar is not safe by keeping the donated ornaments received as donations from devotees to Puri Srimandir in SBI bank locker two days ago.

Stating that keeping the donated ornaments outside Ratna Bhandar is completely ‘illegal’, Acharya questioned the CM as to which law allowed the officials of the temple administration to keep the ornaments of the Trinity in bank locker.

"CM Naveen has not spoken anything on the missing of the Ratna Bhandar key. He should clarify whether the keys are actually lost or intentionally misplaced," said Acharya.

Reacting sharply on the allegations brought by BJP, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra critisiced the way the saffron party is politicising the entire issue.

“Pitambar Acharya is giving irresponsible statements and such comments are not expected from such senior advocate. Ratna Bhandar was last opened in 1985 and dragging Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is totally not justified,” said Mishra.

Senior BJP leader Pratap Sarangi said that the Odisha government must answer whether ornaments of Lord Jagannath are there inside the Ratna Bhandar or looted by the government itself.

Former Odisha CM and BJP leader Giridhar Gamang on the other hand said that the Puri Srimandir's Ratna Bhandar was never inspected and its key was intact during his term.

Earlier in the day, the saffron party staged demonstrations in all districts and sub-divisions across the State today on the missing of Ratna Bhandar key issue. A six-hour bandh was observed in Kendrapara affecting normal life in the town. Raising anti-Government slogans, some activists staged a road blocked at Duhuria on NH-5 by burning tyres while others staged road blockade at Tinimuhani Square, Santi Sahi, Gopa Chhak bringing vehicular movement to a grinding halt.

In Balasore, the party activists staged a demonstration in front of the sub-collector's office at Nilagiri.

Besides, the party has also threatened to stage demonstration in front of all police stations across the State for a week starting tomorrow where FIRs will be filed in connection with the missing key of Puri Ratna Bhandar.