Staff Reporter

State comes under criticism for `neglecting' great leader

BERHAMPUR: A token hunger strike was observed at Parlakhemundi in Gajapati district on Monday asking the State government to establish a memorial- cum-museum in the name of Maharaj Krushna Chandra Gajapati, who played a major role in the establishment of Orissa state on linguistic basis.

The agitators sat near the statue of Gajapati at Bazar square of Parlakhemundi. This demonstration was organised by Rashtriya Oriya Yuvak Pratisthan (ROYP). Cutting across party lines, Congress MLA of Parlakhmeundi Trinath Sahu and BJP MLA of R.Udaygiri Bharat Paika also took part in the demonstration.

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The president of ROYP, Srikant Kumar Padhi, said they organised the demonstration to protest against the way the State government sidelined the great leader of Gajapati district who had played a major role to protect Oriya language, culture and territorial identity. As per a recent decision, the State government decided to have memorials of great Oriya leaders like Gopabandhu Das, Madhusudan Das, Bagha Jatin, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Biju Patnaik and Harekrushna Mahtab. But the government forgot to include the name of Krushna Chadra Gajapati in the list although Suryanarayan patro, who holds the portfolio of tourism and culture of the state, happens to be an MLA from the district. The Gajapati district Congress unit has even declared to oppose the entry of Mr. Patro to the district over the issue.

Former Congress MP of Berhampur and descendant of the erstwhile royal family of Parlakhemundi, Gopinath Gajapati, also pointed out that he had in the past proposed the State government to use their ancestral palace for a memorial which is still pending. The Additional District Magistrate (ADM) of Gajapati district, Gunanidhi Jena, reached the spot to hold talks with demonstrators.

He also met Gopinath Gajapati. According to Mr. Padhi, the ADM informed that the State government decided to establish a memorial-cum-museum in in the name of Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati at Parlakhmeundi.