A day after Odisha celebrated Utkal Divas, the foundation day of the state formed on linguistic basis in 1936, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday received flak over his alleged poor understanding of Odia.
Patnaik's Odia speech written in English has gone viral on Facebook, with people mocking and venting their anger against the longest serving chief minister of Odisha.
He also came under attack from different political parties for his poor understanding of Odia language.
"I am shocked that he has not shown any interest to learn Odia. How can you rule a state without knowing the language of the land?" asked Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Rajya Sabha member and estranged advisor of Naveen Patnaik.
Mohapatra said he had given two books to the chief minister on how to learn the mother tongue of the state.
"The chief minister didn't learn the language despite being given two books in 2000. Had he evinced the slightest interest, he would have learnt the language by this time, " the leader said.
Meanwhile, police have detained some activists of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students' wing of the Congress party, for trying to sneak into Naveen Niwas in a bid to teach Odia language to the chief minister.
They tried to enter the residence of Patnaik with Odia text books and writing slate boards.
"We will continue such protests till the chief minister understands Odia language, " said NSUI state unit president Itish Pradhan.
However, the ruling Biju Janata Dal reacted over the issue cautiously. BJD's students wing president Byomkesh Ray said the Congress party is indulging in such activities to gain publicity after it lost the confidence of the people.