Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Friday said that only a regional party will preserve Odisha’s unique identity. “Only a regional party will do justice for the aspirations of the youth of Odisha. Otherwise, the national parties will make you a small drop in their vast ocean,” he added.
“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,” said Patnaik while addressing the BJD’s youth wing executive committee meeting in virtual mode here.
“For a national party or their branches in States, these do not matter. 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,” said Patnaik.
The longest serving Chief Minister of the State further said that “Congress governments in the State were remote controlled from Delhi. BJP governments in other States also follow the directions of the national leadership”.
“Compare this with the trajectory of Odisha under a regional party. There is stark and positive difference. BJD as a regional party stands for preserving and promoting the unique identity of Odisha.
“We don’t have any bosses in Delhi. Our bosses are the four and half crore people of Odisha. We have to impress only the people of Odisha and will continue to fight for their rights.
“We have been fighting for the water of Mahanadi. We have been fighting to declare Odissi music as classical. We have been fighting for inclusion of Kosali and Ho languages in the 8th Schedule. We have been fighting for the benefits of our mineral riches to come to the State and its people,” said Patnaik.
Patnaik, who has been heading the BJD since its formation in December 1997, pointed out that almost every year Odisha faces a natural calamity of humongous proportions. It is because of our unique location in the neck of the peninsula.
“We suffer hugely for these catastrophic events, very frequently. 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,” he said.
“BJD will continue to fight for it and keep reminding national parties about their step motherly treatment of Odisha.”
“The very purpose of forming a separate state is to preserve, protect our unique identity and continue to fight for the people of Odisha. In this context it is only a regional party whose survival and growth is in sync with the growth of development of Odisha that 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.
“This is my message not only to BYJD but for the youth of our state in the present and for times to come,” he said.
Asking what is unique to Odisha State, Patnaik said it was the first linguistic State to be formed in the country! It’s language Odia is unique and the language has given us the State.
“The art culture and heritage of Odisha is unparalleled. Our Odissi is exquisite. Jagannath Maha Prabhu is our bedrock. His worship and faith is our essence and not only a form of religion. Mahanadi is our life line, and we are blessed with plentiful water. Our mineral wealth is bountiful and unmatched.
“The diversity and richness of tribal culture is our strength. Odisha has a unique distinct identity. It is for this identity our forefathers sacrificed themselves and fought for a separate state.
What is the primary objective of National Parties? To win elections and have power to form Government at the Centre,” he said.
“What is the primary objective of the state leadership of a National Party,” he further asked. “They have to basically impress the national leadership so that they can get crucial posts or become ministers,” he answered.
“History has shown us that national parties always have a mainstreaming agenda. It is only through mainstreaming that they can get maximise votes and wish to form a Govt at centre.
For this their strategy revolves around uniform language – Hindi, uniform culture, uniform policies which will appeal to the large populous states and then impose the same across the country ignoring the unique identity of certain populations.
National parties are bound to compromise on the distinctive requirements of a state for gains in the larger national context,” Patnaik added.