Baripada: School children in uniform made to take part in a padayatra on the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, a holiday because of Panchayati Raj Divas, triggered controversy in Mayurbhanj district today.
Leaders of Congress and JMM alleged that the local BJD unit made children from seven high schools including MKC High School, MPK Girls High School, Police Line High School and Bhanjpur High School take part in the padayatra in uniform on a day which was a holiday.
President of the Mayurbhanj District Congress Committee Dinakrushna and state spokesperson of JMM Krushnananda Mohanty demanded an inquiry why children in uniform were made to take part in the padayatra when all government institutions, offices and schools were closed for Panchayati Raj Divas.
The JMM spokesperson alleged that as the ruling party failed to muster support because of growing discontent against the BJD government, it forced school students to wave BJD flags.
Contacted, Head Master of MKC High School, Bimbadhara Patra said he was unaware of the participation of school students in the ruling party programmes.