The widening gulf between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his party MP Baijayant Panda after latter’s removal from the post of BJD Parliamentary Party spokesperson last month have become more prominent with Panda now seeking the same charges against the assailants who threw eggs and stones at him during the luanching of a drinking water project two days ago.
The attack on MP Baijayant Panda two days ago in Mahanga during the inauguration of an overhead water project has steamed up the political atmosphere in the state as BJP and Odisha Congress on Thursday targeted Chief Minister and BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik. Both parties have questioned the CM why a case has not been registered or action taken yet even though the MP was attacked in presence of policemen.
On May 30, the suave Kendrapara MP had gone to Jatiparilo village under Rahania panchayat in Mahanga area of Cuttack district when supporters of Odisha health minister Pratap Jena hurled eggs and stones at him over allegations that the latter’s name was not there in the plaque for the drinking water project which Panda launched. Panda who was hit with an egg, tore his shoulder ligament and suffered a contusion in his head.
While opposition BJP and Congress slammed the CM over lack of action from police despite adequate warnings, Panda today tweeted that he expected similar police action as happened in previous cases of egg attacks, referring to past such attacks on Naveen Patnaik. “Naveen babu had directed the attack on his MP. The entire incident was orchestrated by him,” alleged Congress MLA Tara Bahinipati.
When a Twitter follower advised him to meet the CM, Panda replied – “this not a school to go to Principal. There’s a precedent for police action agnst throwers of eggs (not to mention stones!) should apply here too.”
In February 2015, Bhubaneswar police had arrested 16 people including state president of National Students Union of India, Satyajit Patnaik over Congress workers pelting eggs on Naveen’s vehicle when he was on his way to attend the annual function of the of Utkal University at Vani Vihar campus. The NSUI president and others were slapped with attempt to murder charges. In December 2015, girl students, mostly NSUI supporters, were detained in a room when Naveen visited the Rama Devi Women’s University in Bhubaneswar as the police were apprehensive of eggs being thrown at the CM.
BJD on the otherhand tried to make light of the issue with spokesperson and consumer welfare minister Surya Patro saying Panda should have filed an FIR. “He is a very senior MP; he should have known to file an FIR about it. If anything unlawful happens to anyone law must take its own course,” he said.
The police meanwhile have washed their hands off the matter saying no case has been registered as no one lodged FIR. “We have not received any complaint over the incident. There is also no video footage of the MP being attacked,” said Cuttack Rural SP Madhav Sahu.
Panda shot back in Twitter saying police seeking an FIR is a joke then the incident took place in their presence. “ROFL.. Clearly prev day vandalism, letter from my office, and large police presence during attack not enough. Oh, well,” he tweeted. “If it needs complaint-filing for action against violence which happens right in front of police, wd that indicate breakdown of law & order?”
Naveen on his part said the BJD is totally against any form of violence adding that he had already directed the Cuttack district observer and minister for skill development and technical education Usha Devi to look into the matter.