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Very purpose of Odisha’s creation will be defeated if governed by national parties: Naveen Patnaik

By Anuj Cariappa
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Bhubaneswar, Dec 19: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik here on Friday said the very purpose of creation of Odisha as a separate state on language basis is defeated if it is governed by national parties whose agenda is majority nationalism, sparking a debate over regional versus national party as a long term political strategy. "The very purpose of forming a separate state is to preserve, protect our unique identity and continue to fight for the people of Odisha.

Only a regional party whose survival and growth is in sync with the growth of development of Odisha can stand and fight for its people. BJD as a regional party is synonymous with the aspirations and ideals for which the state of Odisha was formed," Naveen, who is also the BJD president, said.

Naveen Patnaik

He was addressing the executive meeting of Biju Yuva Janata Dal, BJD's youth wing, ahead of the regional party's foundation day on December 26.Notably, Odisha province was formed on the basis of its language 'Odia' in 1936.

The regional satrap, who has been successful in beating anti-incumbency by espousing regionalism and highlighting central neglect, currently in power for the fifth successive term in the state, said national parties always have a mainstreaming agenda. "Their strategy revolves around uniform language Hindi, uniform culture and policies which will appeal to the large populous states, impose the same across the country ignoring the unique identity of certain populations," he said.

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Fuelling the language debate, Naveen said, "For us, our language Odia is more important than Hindi. For us our Mahanadi is more sacred than any other river. For us Odissi music is a classical art form. For us Kosali and Ho are mainstream languages. For us the rich diversity of our tribal population is our pride. For us Sambalpuri handloom is world-class."

"Odias are a drop in the ocean for national parties. For a regional party like BJD, Odias are its ocean and its existence depends on protecting the identity of Odias and promoting their cause," he said. Naveen championed the Odia pride and identity further by saying, Jagannath Maha Prabhu of Puri is state's bedrock whose worship and faith is essence and not only a form of religion.

While the primary objective of national parties is to win elections and have power to form government at the Centre, state leadership of such parties have to impress the national leadership so that they can get crucial posts or become ministers, the CM said. "The state leaders of national parties neither have the voice to insist on protecting our unique heritage nor do they have the intent to do so in a hierarchical centralised national party structure," he added.

Accusing the BJP and the Congress of not giving the state its due, Naveen said, "Both the national parties -BJP and Congress had kept special category status as their number one manifesto point. After elections every time they conveniently forgot it. "BJD will continue to fight for it and keep reminding national parties about their step motherly treatment of Odisha," he said.

What is seen as a counter to the BJP's 'double engine' chant in each state to ensure BJP govt's both at the Centre and in state, Naveen said, "Congress governments in the state were remote controlled from Delhi. BJP governments in other states also follow the directions of the national leadership," he said, adding, "We don't have any bosses in Delhi .Our bosses are the four and half crore people of Odisha."

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