Bhubaneswar: The Congress has landed in the thick of yet another controversy following AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad’s remark that the ruling BJD was responsible for creating an “environment of fear” among the people that developed out of the death of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons at Manoharpur in Keonjhar district way back in 1999.
On Wednesday the Congress leader in Bhawanipatna had said, “Pura desh mein bhaay ka batabaran khatam karne ka suruwaat Odisha mein Manoharpur mein Graham Staines aur do masoom bachhon ka hatya karke desh mein bhaay ka batabaran khatam karne ka karyakram iss Odisha mein Naveen Patnaik ke netrutwa mein suruwaat hua.”
(The Naveen Patnaik Government in Odisha initiated the process to end the fear factor among people of India with the killing of Graham Staines and his two minor sons at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district.)
Going by his speech (interpretation of statement), what apparently had meant to excoriate the BJD government, the Congress leader, ‘non-conversant’ in Hindi faltered midway. Interestingly, the statement came in the very second public gathering of the Congress leader who was handed over the baton as in-charge of the State unit in June by the party high command.
The ‘inadvertent' remark, as claimed by the State Congress party men however was driven back to track when Hariprasad continued, “Idhar se lekar pura desh mein ek bhaay ka batabaran phaila ke antim mein Gujarat mein jaake 3,000 alpsankhayak ka katal karke bhaay ka batabaran phaaila dia, bhaay ko khatam nahin kiya.”
(The fearness continued throughout the country and it didn’t end even with the killing of 3,000 minorities in Gujarat.)
The reconciliatory approach of the Congress was quite evident as a visibly upset Jayadev Jena and leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh, who accompanied Hariprasad, tried to interrupt the latter who went on to reiterate his stand while speaking to reporters after the public meeting.
Meanwhile, BJD was prompt to react on the remark.
“It is very funny that he (Hariprasad) has little knowledge about the State governance. For his knowledge, I just want to say that Congress was in power at that time under the leadership of Janaki Ballabh patnaik,” BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das said.
He further said Hariprasad should acquire adequate knowledge before daring to teach the state government.