Biju Janata Dal leader and former party MP Baishnab Charan Parida today attacked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik saying that a person who cannot speak Odia has no right to rule the state. Parida, who is also the president of ‘Bhasa Surakshya Sammilani’ (BSS), an outfit fighting for the protection of Odia language and literature, said BSS will launch a civil disobedience movement in front of all district collectors’ offices on October 16.
“Those who can’t speak Odia, have no right to rule the state,” he said. “It would have been different had Naveen Patnaik been a normal citizen. Since he is the people’s representative, he must respect our mother tongue, literature, culture and tradition. If he wants to remain in power without knowing Odia, it is an insult to Odia community,” Parida said while addressing a meeting in Sambalpur.
Defending Patnaik, senior BJD leader and Agriculture minister Damodar Rout hit back at the former MP, and claimed that the chief minister knows Odia better than Parida. “Why did not Parida raise the issue when he was the Rajya Sabha MP?” Rout said.
He has been raising the matter after completion of his tenure as the MP, the Agriculture minister said. Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi, who is also a BJD spokesperson said, “I want to ask Parida what he has done for Odia language during his six-year tenure as Rajya Sabha member.”