It is highly reprehensible that Shri Baijayant Panda, former MP from Kendrapada and the present Vice President of BJP, has invoked Pakistan and drew parallel between that country and Odisha in his tweet of 17th October 2020- "Shameful how Maharashtra & Odisha police simply "pick up" & assault journalists & do custodial interrogation, without following the basic process of law, like in Pakistan. This is real fascism. Please speak up for Ramesh Rath of
@otvnews & @pradip103 of @republic"
His bizarre attempts to portray the situation in Odisha and Maharashtra as equal to that of Pakistan in the context of freedom of speech flow out of his sheer and utter perversity. It can be asserted with conviction that no public figure of Odisha ever juxtaposed our State of Odisha with Pakistan as has been done by Shri Panda. In doing so he stooped very low to willfully denigrate the State of Odisha and its people acclaimed across the country for their civility, simplicity, grace and decency. Shri Panda's such unforgivable denunciation of Odisha by equating it with Pakistan is indeed inexplicable and inexcusable.
The way in which he drew parallel between Odisha and Pkaistan deserves highest level of condemnation. It is an affront as much to the State of Odisha and its people as to the whole of India. His outright contemptuous tweet would only benefit Pakistan and India's arch adversaries out to jeopardize and endanger our national security by taking advantage of the sinister pronouncements of people like him.
Baijayant Panda’s Tweet Offends Legacy of Biju Patnaik’s Legacy in saving Kashmir and India from Pak Aggression
Shri Panda himself represented people of Kendrapada in Parliament when he won the massive mandate of people as a BJD candidate . He again contested from the same constituency as a BJP candidate for Lok Sabha in 2019 elections and was unsuccessful in winning the seat. Outstanding leaders such as Rabi Ray and Surendra Nath Dwivedi were representing Kendrapada in the Lok Sabha as Member of Parliament . The most remarkable leader to have won from Kendrapada and represented people as their representative in legislature was none other than the legendary Biju Patnaik. His stellar role in saving Kashmir from being captured by Pakistan when he flew a plane to Srinagar carrying Indian soldiers in very dangerous circumstances is part of the glorious history associated with the integration of Jammu & Kashmir with the Indian Union. It was because of him that our soldiers could land there and push back Pak raiders and Jammu and Kashmir was saved from Pakistan which had almost captured it. Aagain in 1965, just a few days before India - Pak war when Prime Minister Lalbahadur Shastri came to know that Indonesian leader Sukarno had decided to supply some submarines to Pakistan he requested Biju Patnaik to immediately fly to Indonesia and do some thing so that those submarines from Indonesia would not reach Pakistan. On the same day, Biju Patnaik reached Jakarta and prevailed upon Sukarno not to supply submarines to Pakistan. Sukarno did what Biju babu said and India was saved from the devastation that would have been inflicted by Pakistan if it had got submarines from Indonesia. Baijayant Panda being an Odia is insulting that legacy of Biju Patnaik who had saved Kashmir and India from Pakistan. He being an Odia should be justly proud of that extraordinary legacy of Biju Babu. Instead he is demolishing that legacy by his highly disparaging tweet equating Odisha with Paksitan. The contents of his highly objectionable tweet only serves the cause of Pakistan and enemies of India and emboldens them to harm and tarnish the image of our country and State.
PM Modi Had bracketed Kerala with Somalia and People of Kerala Protested
He should recall for his own benefit that when in 2016 Prime Minister Shri Modi while in his election campaign speech said that ""Infant mortality rate among the scheduled tribe community in Kerala is worse than Somalia" the whole of Kerala, acclaimed for lowest infant mortality rates in India, erupted in anger against that statement and the then Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Chandy demanded an apology from the PM. He went to the extent of saying that the statement made by the PM was unbecoming of a Prime Minister and created a great deal of agony.
Indeed Shri Panda's highly condemnable tweet equating Odisha with Pakistan caused agony and anguish and is unbecoming of him as a public figure. Now that he is in the distinguished company of the Prime Minister and BJP leaders he should derive lessons from that unacceptable statement of PM bracketing Kerala and Somalia which fueled fury in Kerala and people untiedly stood against it and held Prime Minister responsible for belittling the State and denigrating it.
Jay Panda's recklessness in bracketing Odisha and Paksitan is indicative of his utter bankruptcy in understanding the invaluable legacy of Odisha represented by Biju Patnaik to defend India's unity and integrity from Pakistan's aggression. The widespread condemnation of his tweet which is derogatory to the dignity of the people and State of Odisha is reflective of the people's disapproval of his calculated folly which he thought would earn him brownie points. It would be better for him to express regret and tender apology and take a vow not to repeat such blunders.
.The author served as Officer on Special Duty and Press Secretary to President of India late Shri K R Narayanan and had a tenure in Prime Minister’s Office and Joint Secretary in Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Views expressed in the article are in his personal capacity.