Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates redeveoped Samaleshwari temple in Sambalpur - Hindustan Times
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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates redeveoped Samaleshwari temple in Sambalpur

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jan 28, 2024 03:30 PM IST

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the redeveloped Maa Samaleshwari Temple in Sambalpur, boosting tourism and the local economy.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday dedicated a redeveloped Maa Samaleshwari Temple, built in the 17th century, on the banks of the Mahanadi River in Sambalpur after the state government spent 200 crore on peripheral development of the shrine, construction of a heritage corridor, amenities for pilgrims, improved access to the temple and development of the Mahanadi riverfront.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik during the inauguration of the redeveloped Maa Samaleshwari Temple on the banks of the Mahanadi River in Sambalpur on Saturday. (ANI)
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik during the inauguration of the redeveloped Maa Samaleshwari Temple on the banks of the Mahanadi River in Sambalpur on Saturday. (ANI)

“People of Odisha will always remember those who volunteered to forego their lands for the project. The blessings of Maa Samaleswari always remain with the people of the state,” said Patnaik in Sambalpur. He said that besides providing devotees and people an experience of peace and divine bliss, it will help boost tourism and the economy of the region. “Now, thousands of devotees can congregate at the ghat to witness Mahanadi Alati,” he said. The Odisha government declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in the state to mark the occasion.

Patnaik’s visit to Sambalpur assumes importance as it comes a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the western Odisha town to inaugurate the permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Sambalpur.

“People of Sambalpur and adjacent areas are eagerly waiting to hear Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At least 1.5 lakh people will come from the different parts of the district and nearby areas to witness him address the meeting. And he wouldn’t let them down,” said BJP state president Manmohan Samal.

Of the 8 Lok Sabha seats that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in 2019 polls, five came from western Odisha, including Sambalpur. Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan was the party candidate from Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency.

On Saturday, BJP made its national vice-president and MLA from Chhatisgarh’s Kondagaon, Lata Usendi the in-charge of Odisha for 2024 assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Party sources said Usendi was made in-charge as Chhatisgarh borders western Odisha districts like Sambalpur and Bargarh.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge is also scheduled to arrive in the state to address a public rally in Bhubaneswar. Kharge, who is visiting Odisha for the first time after becoming the Congress president in 2022, would address Odisha Bachao Samavesh organised by the state unit of the party in Bhubaneswar. “He will meet senior party leaders. His visit would give an impetus to party workers and leadership before we start a full-fledged election campaign. We have 17 parties in the INDIA bloc. He will hold talks with the leaders of these parties aligned with the INDIA bloc,” said Odisha PCC president Sarat Pattanayak.

People familiar with the matter in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said that apart from the temple development in western Odisha towns, the ruling party has chalked out an elaborate strategy for the 2024 polls to keep the BJP in check. During the last ministerial reshuffle in July 2022, the party inducted seven ministers into the state Cabinet from western Odisha districts. “We performed exceedingly well in the panchayat and urban local body elections from the western Odisha districts. This time too we would do very well,” said BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra.

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