Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who arrived in Odisha on a two-day visit late last night, visited Lingaraj temple amid tight security and performed ‘Jalabhishek’ in the morning on the last auspicious Monday of ‘Shravana’. Ten platoons of the police force were deployed at the temple during the visit. The Union Minister then had breakfast at Odisha BJP president Samir Mohanty’s residence.
Shah visited the birthplace of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Cuttack and attended the ‘Amruta Utsav’ of Odia daily Prajatantra at Indoor Stadium to mark the 75th anniversary of the newspaper. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and eminent Odia writer Padma Bhushan Pratibha Ray also graced the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Home Minister said, “Jai Jagannath. Whenever I am in the land of Utkal, I first pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath, it fills my mind with devotion. The daughter of Odisha Draupadi Murmu is now in the top constitutional post. This should make all poor and tribal people of the country proud.”
“Acche Din (good days) have finally arrived in Odisha. Many Odia personalities are now holding key positions in India. The future looks promising. There is huge scope for developmental activities. I can envisage a bright future for Odisha,” Shah said.
Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik said, “The role of media in a democratic society can hardly be overemphasised. It should endeavour to uphold our great cultural heritage and moral values; promote national integration and communal harmony. The media should discharge its duty without any fear or favour. Media runs on the basis of people’s trust and should prioritise the real issues of people rather than politics. Media essentially should be the voice of people. Media being the voice of the people must reflect our democratic value system and take a neutral stand in every aspect.”
Union Minister Pradhan said: “It is a matter of happiness that the Prajatantra is celebrating the completion of its 75th year when Azad Ka Amruta Mahotsav is being celebrated to mark the completion of the 75th year celebration of Independence. I, from my inner heart, thank Dr Harekruhna Mahtab, who had established this newspaper and whose contribution in making journalists, litterateurs and intelligentsia and in forming a new India is well written. We have to take forward all that was done and foreseen by Dr Mahtab before and after Independence and make Odisha an advanced State in the country.”
Prajatantra editor and Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said: “The main motto of Prajatantra is to create new awareness in society. We should always think about new things. Politics should be meant for progress. Hope that Prajatantra will go ahead with the cooperation of all.”
Later, Shah held a meeting of the state BJP’s core committee at its headquarters in Bhubaneswar. He also attended a book-reading session in Bhubaneswar and launched the Odisha edition of ‘Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery’. This book has been written on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s completion of 20 years in office, from becoming the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001.
(Inputs from Sumant Sundaray, Dipak Samal, Navesh Mohanty, Manoj Jena, Ajesh Mallick and Dwibendu Mishra from
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack)