Photos of illustrious personalities at Secretariat removed; Opp cries foul

Bhubaneswar: The framed oil paintings of illustrious state leaders that once adorned the corridors of the State Secretariat have suddenly vanished sparking off resentment among members of different political parties. The only picture that now dons walls of the establishment is that of the legendary leader Biju Patnaik.

While the state government says that the pictures have been removed for restoration work, the Opposition smells a rat.

“Some photos have been removed. Subsequently all photos will be taken out for renovation,” replied Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda when asked about the matter.

The Opposition refused to buy the theory and alleged that the ruling party was trying to disrespect other illustrious personalities of the State and promote “Only Biju Babu”.

Questions were raised on why Biju Patnaik’s picture was not taken for restoration.

“This act of removal of photos shows narrow mindedness of the ruling party and is in bad taste. People will hate this decision by Biju Babu’s successor,” said Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Senior BJP leader.

Toeing similar lines Congress chief whip, Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “It is unfortunate and condemnable. I request the CM to put up photos of all the illustrious personalities including former chief minister JB Patnaik.”

Meanwhile, the civil society group Utkal Sammilani said it would question the State government about the rationale behind removal of photos.

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“To keep only Biju Babu’s photo and remove others is mean. We will definitely raise our voice against such move,” stated Bibhuti Mishra, president of the Sammilani, Bhubaneswar branch.