BHUBANESWAR: Bickering in the State unit of BJP once again came to the fore with senior leader Bijay Mohapatra questioning his party’s role in bringing in reforms in the administration of Sri Jagannath temple Puri in general and protection of valuables in Ratna Bhandar.
A known rebel in the BJP, Mohapatra had embarrassed the party a year ago by rubbing Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan the wrong way and questioning him about the employment provided to local youth in the Indian Oil Corporation’s refinery near Paradip in Cuttack district.
What has embarrassed the BJP more this time is that Mohapatra’s poser on Ratna Bhandar came at a time when the saffron party has gone out with all guns blazing against the ruling BJD by launching a Statewide agitation for missing keys of treasury of the Srimandir.
Though senior BJP leader and former Law Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan who was in the line of fire of Mohapatra’s salvo came out with a clarification that he had done enough to bring in desired changes in the Srimandir administration during his tenure as Law Minister in the Naveen Patnaik-led coalition government from 2000 to 2009, the damage has already been done.
Mohapatra left the BJP top brass red faced on Tuesday by questioning what steps were taken by his party on the protection of Ratna Bhandar during the nine years of coalition government.Reacting sharply to Mohapatra’s comment, Harichandan said, “Not only the State Government but some other people are also worried over BJP’s protests on missing Ratna Bhandar key.”
“It is really unfortunate that none from the ruling party nor any organisations as well as stakeholders in the matter have made such comments. Mohapatra should have understood all the aspects and collected information before making such reckless comments on the issue,” Harichandan added.Highlighting some of the reform measures taken by him as Law Minister, Harichandan urged the State Government to open Ratna Bhandar immediately to find out whether the valuables kept in it are safe.
On the other hand, Mohapatra said he had not named Harichandan but only reiterated the concern of Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati on the issue.The Shankaracharya had pointed out that though the Law Department was under the BJP from 2000 to 2009, no reforms were undertaken in Srimandir management or its rituals during that time.