Clear Doubts Over Holding Rath Yatra, BJP Tells Odisha Government

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Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Wednesday asked the Odisha government to clear doubts over holding the Rath Yatra in Puri, on June 23, at the earliest.

Briefing mediapersons here, BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said while the mega festival is just two weeks away, the silence of the state government has made 4.5 crore people of Odisha anxious. “The Chief Minister should waste no time and come up with a statement to clear peoples’ doubts,” he pointed out.

He said though chariot construction work is on in full swing with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines followingpermission from the Centre, there is no clarity from the state government on holding the festival.

He felt if the government was willing to hold the Yatra, preparatory meetings should have been held much earlier.

Referring to the indifference of the state government, the BJP leader said that the government had sponsored a PIL in the Orissa High Court to stop the festival this year, considering the prevailing COVID-19 situation. However, the court refused to interfere in the matter.

The state government, he reminded, had earlier sought the Centre’s permission on holding the festival. The Centre granted permission for construction of chariots while making it clear that organizing Rath Yatra will be the state government’s call.

Expressing resentment over the state government’s decision to keep temples in the state closed even as the Centre has given go-ahead to open temples and monuments from June 8, Harichandan said the Rath Yatra could be conducted in the manner in which the state government had organized the singing of the state anthem Bande Utkal Janani on May 30 by maintaining social distance.

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