Pradeep Pattanayak

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Deogarh on Monday, protesting against the arrest of the party's MLA Subash Chandra Panigrahi and demanding the arrest of Tileibani BDO. 

BJP leaders and workers were seen picketing at the strategic locations in the town while offices, markets, and shops downed their shutters. Similarly, vehicular movement also came to a halt due to the protest. 

In protest against the MLA’s arrest, BJP chief whip and Keonjhar MLA Mohan Charan Majhi, Sundargarh MLA Kusum Tete and Talasara MLA Bhabani Bhoi, BJP Deogarh district president Minaketan Pradhan along with party workers had staged a dharna in front of the Deogarh police station on Sunday, shouting slogans against the police. 

“The first FIR was lodged by Panigrahi alleging he was misbehaved by the BDO. But the police, instead of taking action against the BDO, have arrested him,” Majhi had alleged.

In a series of tweets (Odia), Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan too condemned the arrest of his party MLA. “Instead of rectifying their working styles, some officials are using the law to suppress the voices of the Opposition leaders which is dangerous for democracy,” he said in a tweet. 

Acting on the complaint lodged by the Tileibani BDO, the police had arrested the MLA from his quarters in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. While being taken to Deogarh, the legislator fell ill and had to be rushed to Chhatabar community health centre (CHC).  

Later, the MLA along with his two associates Akalu Dhal and Kumarmani Sahoo was produced in the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court. The trio was remanded to judicial custody for three days while the court has set May 7 as the date to pronounce its decision on the bail pleas. 

Notably, Panigrahi had asked Dalapati to come and meet him over certain issues. However, as the latter was away at Chhepalipali village for an inspection, he expressed his inability to meet him. Hearing Dalapati’s answer, Panigrahi flew off the handle. In the next moment, he along with a few supporters visited Chhepalipali village and reportedly thrashed the BDO.