Opposition blames Odisha government for temple ritual fiasco

Bhubaneswar, June 19 (IANS) The alleged mismanagement of ‘Brahma Paribartan’ ceremony at Lord Jagannath’s temple continued to rock state politics on Friday as the Congress and BJP blamed the Odisha government for the “fiasco”.

The ruling Biju Janta Dal (BJD) accused both the opposition parties of “politicising” the whole issue.

While the Congress demanded Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s resignation for “breach of age-old tradition” at the temple, the Bharatiya Janata Party said he should apologise to Lord Jagannath’s devotees for the “mismanagement” in the religious event.

“The state government is managing the festival in a haphazard manner. While a judicial commission of inquiry should be ordered into the irregularities, the chief minister should resign for the mess,” said Pradesh Congress Committee chief Prasad Harichandan at a press meet here.

The idols of the four deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan in the 12th century temple at Puri were replaced on June 16 with new ones after 19 years.

Four temple staff members infused life into the idols, which marked the end of two-and-half months’ process of ‘Nabakalebar’ festival. ‘Brahma Paribartan’ is infusion of soul from old idols into the new ones.

Harichandan said that “the Biju Janata Dal government is resorting to vote-bank politics through religion and unleashed a state of anarchy in Odisha”.

The PCC chief also said that Congress workers across Odisha would observe June 26 as ‘protest day’ by fasting and mounting a night vigil by lighting earthen lamps on the issue.

The BJP also lashed out at the Naveen Patnaik government and Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) for the alleged mismanagement in holding the ‘Nabakalebar’ festival and ‘Brahma Paribartan’.

Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra demanded the immediate suspension of chief administrator of the SJTA and an apology by the chief minister to the state’s people.

“The state government and temple administration are solely responsible for the delay in the completion of ‘Brahma Paribartan’. While the chief minister has no idea about the Jagannath temple rituals, our image has been tarnished globally,” said the BJP leader.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD defended the chief minister saying the opposition parties were “politicising” the whole issue.

“It is unfortunate that the BJP and the Congress are politicising the whole issue. The state government took every possible step for the smooth conduct of the ‘Nabakalebar’ festival,” said BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash.

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