Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The political atmosphere in Odisha has charged up further following the announcement of the schedule of the much-awaited by-election to Jharsuguda assembly constituency. 

After the high-profile murder of sitting MLA and Minister Naba Kishore Das that necessitated the bypoll, now the kidnap and murder of a minor boy in the constituency has put the government in a tight spot.    

The two murders within two months has prompted the Opposition BJP and Congress to launch a scathing attack on the Odisha government alleging deteriorating law and order situation in the State.

Union Education Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan targeted the State government for the murder of Cabinet Minister followed by the kidnap and murder of a minor boy named Samarth Agrawal, son of a businessman.

“Lawless Odisha is a reality. High-time people in power recognized the fault-lines in the law and order situation in the State,” tweeted Pradhan.

“Murder of young Samarth exactly within two months of the broad daylight killing of Minister Naba Das exposes Odisha govt’s tall claims on rule of law,” he further wrote.

On the other hand, BJD MP Sasmit Patra hit back at Pradhan by tweeting that more murder cases have occurred in BJP ruled states in the country than Odisha.

“Please don’t mislead and do politics on sensitive matters of crime. Do you know as per NCRB Report (2021), BJP-ruled states like UP, MP, Maharashtra, Assam and Haryana have more rape cases than Odisha? That BJP-ruled states like UP, MP and Maharashtra have more murder cases that Odisha in 2027?” tweeted Patra.

Meanwhile, BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said that State government is clueless about the murder case of Naba Das.

“Sympathy will not work for BJD in Jharsuguda following the death of cabinet minister Naba Das. Everybody in the constituency wants to know about the murderer of Das. BJD will fail to get the mandate in the bypoll. People will vote in favour of BJP,” said Harichandan.

Senior Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja also targeted the Odisha government over the alleged lawlessness in the State.

“29th is a black day for Jharsuguda. On January 29, Cabinet minister Naba Das was murdered. A minor boy was kidnapped and murdered on March 29. The law and order has completely deteriorated in Odisha. The situation in the State is even worse than Uttar Pradesh. Under BJD ruling, murder, abduction and rape cases have gone up. People in Jharsuguda will be afraid to vote for BJD,” said Saluja

However, BJD refuted all the allegations brought against the Odisha government.

“All these allegations are false and completely baseless,” said senior BJD leader Bebi Prasad Mishra. 

“Naba Das’ murder case is under investigation. Blaming the ruling party for the delay in the investigation process is not fair. We are sure of BJD candidate’s victory in Jharsuguda bypoll,” said Mishra.