**Puri/Bhubaneswar: ** When demands are mounting on the State Government to officially proclaim ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ song as State Anthem of Odisha, Odisha Labour & Energy Minister Sushant Singh on Tuesday batted for a paradigm shift of the age-old ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ to ‘Bande Odisha Janani’ as it would have a universal acceptance, especially in western Odisha amid the Koshala State demand agitation in that region.
During his Puri visit on the day, Singh in his media reactions opined, “Bande Utkal Janani song is years-old. In the context of the Koshal agitation in western Odisha, some people there are protesting it. Hence, voices are now being raised there that ‘Bande Odisha Janani’ instead of ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ will be acceptable to one and all.”
“I’m ignorant what the State Government is deciding on it,” he aired.
On being queried what his personal stand on it is since he also belongs to western Odisha, pat came his reply, “Western Odisha’s sentiment and emotion is with Odisha. People of western Odisha feel that ‘Utkal’ is something different. Hence it is expected that it would be better if the State Government takes into consideration the sentiment and emotion of western Odisha before taking a call on ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ song issue.”
In his reactions, ruling BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said, “There is no bar to airing views and opinions. But in this (Bande Utkal Janai) context, the final decision has already been taken in the Assembly. All districts and regions have been represented in the Assembly with their respective MLAs. Accordingly, the State Government’s efforts are on to implement the decision taken by the Assembly.”
He remarked, “In a democratic India, no one can be debarred from right to expression. But law of the land and fundamental duty is equal to all. As it has been resolved in the Assembly, how can I go above it and press my view and opinion on it?”
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