BJP trying to derail Lingaraj ordinance: Ashok Chandra Panda

The President forwarded the ordinance to the Home Ministry which referred it to the Culture Ministry which in turn raised some queries.
BJD leader and Minister Ashok Chandra Panda
BJD leader and Minister Ashok Chandra Panda(File photo | EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: As campaigning gathers steam in the capital city, BJD has intensified its attack on BJP, accusing its candidate for Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency Aparajita Sarangi of trying to prevent implementation of a special Act for Lingaraj temple.

Senior BJD leader and Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, who represents Bhubaneswar Ekamra Assembly seat and is seen campaigning with party’s Lok Sabha candidate Manmath Routray, has questioned the ‘delay’ on part of the Centre in approving promulgation of the Shri Lingaraj Temple Ordinance, 2020, that aims at smooth management of rituals in the 11th century shrine.

In a recent address, Panda accused Sarangi of being anti-people and opposing the Lingaraj heritage rejuvenation initiative and the proposed Lingaraj Temple Act.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Panda said, “We wanted a special act for Lingaraj temple as the shrine, historically, is more ancient than the Jagannath temple in Puri. Besides, the rituals of the deity in the shrine need to be conducted properly as it involves the religious sentiment of the devotees.”

The ordinance was passed by the state cabinet on December 15, 2020 and sent to the Governor of Odisha who then sent it to the President of India for promulgation.

The President forwarded the ordinance to the Home Ministry which referred it to the Culture Ministry which in turn raised some queries. “We have complied with all their queries. Still they have not yet cleared it,” Panda said. He alleged though it was clarified in the proposed Act that protection and conservation of the shrine is the mandate of the ASI, Sarangi, the sitting MP of Bhubaneswar, is tagging it to the Act to oppose it.

As the fight between BJD and BJP intensifies for the Lok Sabha seat, sources said, the BJD could make the issue a poll plank to get an edge over the opposition and strongly counter Sarangi.

The BJP candidate, however, rejected Panda’s allegations Panda terming it as politically motivated.

In her response, Sarangi said she has neither opposed nor has given her opinion on Lingaraj Temple Act. “Ashok Panda should make evidence-based allegations and must furnish proof. There is no question of opposing Lingaraj Act and I have never done it,” she said.

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