Baijayant Panda’s Egregious Blunder in Tweeting for Equating Odisha with Pakistan

By no stretch of imagination would any one accord approval to the weird tweet of Shri Baijayant Panda who looked at Odisha from the perspective of Pakistan and made an unacceptable claim that there is no difference between situations prevailing in Odisha and Maharashtra with that of Pakistan. Does it indicate loss of sanity and critical lapse of judgement on the part of Shri Panda who is now a certified member of BJP and enjoys an enviable status of national Vice President of the party. He is indeed in the charmed circle of the top leaders of BJP many of whom invoke Pakistan at the drop of hate. His sudden perception and understanding that there is sameness and similarity between Odisha and Maharashtra with Pakistan raises questions regarding his state of mental balance.

Till a few years back he represented Kendrapada as its MP in the Lok Sabha and was part of galaxy of veterans of Odisha public life such as Rabi Ray and Biju Patnaik who received the winning mandate of the voters of that constituency and rendered invaluable service which constituted a bench mark to inspire the posterity. Shri Panda should be mindful of that legacy which celebrated as much the glory of Odisha as that of India. He should be mindful of the articulation of Biju Patnaik who while responding to the claim of BJP leader Shri Sunderlal Patwa in the Lok Sabha in 1997 that BJP is a nationalist party asserted with all power at his command that the nationalism of BJP would break India into twenty pieces. When Shri Patwa went on to proudly emphasize that Puranas and Shastras should be given primacy the legendary Biju Baba remarked that that was how Pakistan was created. That disapproval of BJP legacy made by Biju Patnaik has been happily embraced by Baijayant Panda who through his new found love for Pakistan perspective is bringing together Odisha and Maharashtra with Pakistan.

Or is he placing Odisha and Maharashtra in the same footing with Pakistan because Prime Minister in his election speech in Kerala had set an example by famously denouncing that State and asserting that the infant mortality rate of tribals living there is worse than that of Somalia. The way people of Kerala got agitated and hurt by that comparison by none other than Prime Minister and expressed their disapproval and anguish for belittling the globally acclaimed human development indices of that State is now being replicated in the State of Odisha where people and leaders from all spheres are strongly condemning Baijayant Panda’s malicious tweet juxtaposing Odisha and Pakistan.

Shri Panda has a proven record of enjoying high credentials as a well educated person with flair for articulation both written and spoken. He seems to be oblivious of the oft quoted words that comparison is odious. And yet he has been propelled by the BJP version of nationalism, disapproved by none other than Biju Patnaik, to see Odisha from Pakistan perspective.

Some one like Shri Panda who hails from a family which considered itself close to Biju Patnaik and apparently claimed to have remained tuned to his legacy is completely trampling upon it by tweeting with a sinister intention to say that Odisha and Pakistan are worthy of getting equated. Does he forget that it was Biju Babu who was one of the first pilots who took Indian soldiers to Srinagar airport in an aircraft and landed there in face of grave threat from Pakistani raiders who had been very close to Srinagar? Had that dare devil landing of his aircraft been foiled by Pakistanis India would have lost Jammu and Kashmir forever. That invaluable of contributions of Biju Patnaik for the cause of India when seen in the context of the tweet of Shri Panda by equating Pakistan with Odisha clearly proves his doubtful credentials with no iota of regard for the nationalism so authentically represented by Biju Babu.

Shri Panda needs to revisit the speech delivered by Biju Patnaik in Rajya Sabha in 1971 when he participated in the discussion on the issue involving tension between India and Pakistan because of struggle in the erstwhile East Pakistan for creating Bangladesh. In that speech Biju babu revealed that in 1965 he was sent by the then Prime Minister Shri Lalbahadur Shastri on an urgent mission to Indonesian leader Sukarno to ask him not to arm Pakistan by despatching a few submarines which could be used against our country with devastating effect in the event of Pak military aggression on India which was imminent. On the same day when Shastriji broached that issue with Bijubabu he flew to Indonesia and convinced Sukarno not to help Pakistan by supplying those submarines. As a result Sukarno refrained himself and stalled the supply. Had those submarines fallen in the hands of Pakistani military leadership India would have faced unacceptable military fiasco in 1965 war with Pakistan. That was the shining example of leadership the legendary Biju Patnaik displayed in 1965 as an Odia and Indian for the cause of our mother land which faced external aggression from Pakistan. It is rather unfortunate that Shri Panda who was an MP from Kendrapada parliamentary constituency where Biju Patnaik is adored on an enduring basis as a legend is now getting actuated by Pakistani perspective to contextualise Odisha with that country. His tweet does total vilification of Odisha and its people who deserve an unconditional apology from him. That act of his would constitute the redemption for him from the egregious blunder committed in equating Odisha with Pakistan.

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