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BJD leaders step in, Pyari pictures vanish

- Western Odisha community enjoys food, folk dances at Nuakhai Bhetghat in capital

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 2: Pyari Mohan Mohapatra continues to scare BJD leaders and Nuakhai Bhetghat is no exception.

The cultural programme and get-together organised by capital’s western Odisha community had its brush with politics when Mohapatra’s pictures were discreetly removed from a photo exhibition organised by Paschim Odisha Agrani Sangathan as part of the celebrations this year.

Out-of-favour Rajya Sabha member Mohapatra was a guest at last year’s event. Therefore, many of his photographs from last year’s celebrations were on display today. However, sources said that those pictures were removed for obvious reasons when BJD politicians including Assembly Speaker Pradeep Amat, finance minister Prasanna Acharya, industries minister Niranjan Pujari and chairperson of Western Odisha Development Council Padmini Shekhar Deo arrived. Later, when they left, some of the pictures staged a quiet comeback.

Far away from politics, thousands of young and old Sambalpuri-speaking revellers made most of the celebrations.

From students, litterateurs, bureaucrats, government officials, corporate employees and politicians, to people from different districts of western Odisha such as Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi and Balangir tapped their feet to the tunes of folk dances.

Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Jaiphula, Dhap, Chutkuchuta and many more vibrant forms of performing arts of the region were showcased by troupes from the towns of Losinga, Balangir, Sundargarh, Cuttack, and Padamapur.

The girls, draped in colourful handloom saris of Sambalpur, Bargarh and Sonepur, and the men folk, who wore customary headgears, danced to drum beats and folk songs.

The Dalkhai and Raserkali folk songs tempted youngsters to form groups amid the audience and break into a jig while cheering and whistling for the performers. Satyaranjan Das and Pushpanjali Sahoo hosted the show.

More than 5,000 members of the region took part in the revelry, said Prabhas Kumar Singh, president of Paschim Odisha Agrani Sangathan. A lavish feast of Sambalpuri dishes was also a big hit at the event.