The BJP on Wednesday said the Puri Sankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati being a revered learned person ought to have examined all issues before commenting that not much was done for the Puri Jagannath Temple even when the BJP was part of the state government and held the law portfolio between 2000 to 2009.
The state BJP which convened a press conference to counter political heavyweight Bijay Mahapatra’s remarks made on the lines of the Puri Sankaracharya found itself confronted with the delicate question on its stand with regards to the Puri seer.
Veteran BJP leader and former law minister Biswabhusan Harichandan who addressed the media started off objecting to Mahapatra’s remarks that not much had been done by stating not only the BJD government but some other people are also rattled by the BJP’s protests over missing Ratna Bhandar key.
Biswa Bhusan Harichandan claimed that several major reforms were undertaken during his term as Law Minister in the BJP-BJD coalition government between 2000-2009.
An additional chief secretary rank officer was made the executive chairman of the temple and another senior officer the chief administrator, renovation of Ananda Bazaar inside the temple, high mast lights, scuttling a move to hand over temple land to a private company like Vedanta were some of the other aspects that he listed out.
Harichandan demanded that the government should open the Ratna Bhandar ( treasure house) inspect and conduct an inventory. But when questioned whether the Puri seer was also ignorant of all that was done when he said nothing much was done by the BJP to clear the mess in the temple, Harichandan turned defensive.
The veteran was also at odds when it was pointed out that BJP state spokesperson Pitambar Acharya , in a bit to counter Bijay Mahapatra , had asked what was done when Mahapatra was a minister in the Biju Patnaik government between 1990-95 without perhaps realising the Harichandan was also a minister in the same cabinet.
Harichandan was asked to comment on Acharya’s remarks and the reference to the stampede during the period. The veteran said he would not like to go in to the Nabajauban festival stampede at the temple and that he was not a member of any committee that had been formed during Biju Patnaik’s tenure as CM.
Reacting to Harichandan’s charges, Bijay Mahapatra On Wednesday said “ I had not named Biswabhusan Harichandan and I don’t know why he reacted, I had reacted to what a respected person like Puri Sankaracharya had stated. Mahapatra hinted at several other aspects which would embarrass Harichandan but he was not revealing it.
He went on to indicate at just one such issue – what about the annual reports of the temple which ought to be placed in the assembly and routed through the law department, it was never done between 2000 to 2009 and is not done even now, he remarked before adding that he does not want to engage in a tu-tu-mein-mein.