Intra-party conflict casts shadow on Kalinga Baliyatra

Two ministers skip the annual event; Chief Minister stays away for fourth year

Published: 14th November 2016 03:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2016 04:42 AM   |  A+A-


Damodar Rout lighting the lamp | Express

By Express News Service

PARADIP: The fissures in the ruling BJD were out in the open at the inauguration of Kalinga Baliyatra here on Sunday. The festival celebrating the maritime trade of the State with South-East Asia was inaugurated by Cooperation and Excise Minister Damodar Rout even as Revenue Minister Bijayashree Routray and Higher Education Minister Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi preferred to stay away from the event allegedly due to intra-party conflict.

Sources said, the two Ministers had committed to attend as chief guest and chief speaker but did not turn up.  Two MLAs Chiranjib Biswal and Prasant Muduli too did not attend.
 On the other hand, continuous non-participation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the last four years has stolen the charm of the festival and the crowd dwindle. Though the organisers are celebrating silver jubilee this year and the event coincides with Biju birth centenary, empty seats at the venue pointed to the widening tussle between the BJD leaders and their supporters as well.

In 2013, Naveen was slated to inaugurate the function but he refrained as a mark of solidarity with cyclone and flood affected people of the State. Routray was to inaugurate but as he failed to turn up, local MLA Damodar Rout inaugurated it.   In 2014 too, Naveen did not attend the function and last year too he refused to attend the function following which Rout inaugurated the festival. Like previous years, Naveen expressed his reluctance to attend the festival this time too for some reason.

It may be recalled that former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had started the Kalinga Baliyatra in 1992 with an aim to revive the maritime trade. The focus was on developing Odisha as a tourist destination for the South-East Asian countries.  Addressing the gathering, Rout said Kalinga Baliyatra is the symbol of age-old traditional, cultural and economic relationship with Balidweep, now Indonesia. He lauded the efforts of organisers for keeping up the glory by organising such a grand festival.

Among others, MP Kulamani Samal, MLA Rajshree Mallick, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust (PPT) Rinkesh Ray attended and Collector Yamini Sarangi attended. Gramshree Mela and other cultural events would be the major attractions. Due to ban of denomination of `500 and `1000 and unavailability of other currencies in other denominations, the number of vendors opening shops was also less. The festival will conclude on November 20.

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp