PARADIP: Local MLA Damodar Rout on Thursday criticised the organisers of Kalinga Baliyatra Mahostav Committee for installation of the wheel of Lord Jagannath’s chariot at Kalinga Baliyatra festival at public place instead of religious places.
Sources said the committee installed the wheel of Lord Jagannath’s chariot - ‘Nandighosa’ - at Sarala Mandap in Kalinga Baliyatra festival. The wheel has been attracting people and will be installed at Jagannath temple in Paradip. The MLA said he was ignored by the committee regarding organising the festival and without consulting anybody, the organisers installed the wheel hurting the religious sentiments of the people. He compared the installation of wheel of Nandighosa at this festival with the fixing of ‘daru’ (holy log) selection during the 2015 Nabakalebara festival.
Rout said, “though local BJD leaders have been directed by the Chief Minister to keep me away from the function, the propaganda against me is false.” He said a festival such as Baliyatra should be kept out of politics.
Meanwhile, despite the rift among local BJD leaders and difference with Rout, the week-long Kalinga Baliyatra Mahotsav, a colourful reminder of the traditional maritime trade and rich culture of erstwhile Kalinga, kicked off here amid fanfare on Thursday. Minister of Culture and Tourism Ashok Panda inaugurated the event, which was also attended by Health Minister Pratap Jena, MP Kulamani Samal, Mahakalpada MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Balikuda-Ersama MLA Prasanta Kumar Muduli, SP Prakash R and Collector Yamini Sarangi.