Vikash Sharma

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday hit the streets in Bhubaneswar alleging deterioration in the law and order situation in Odisha in the backdrop of the recent assassination of health minister Naba Kishore Das.

The BJP leaders alleged that there is now absolute lawlessness owing to inefficient handling of the situation by Odisha Chief Minsiter Naveen Patnaik. The State Health Minister and senior BJD leader Naba Das was killed by Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) and the people of Odisha are unsafe under BJD rule, alleged the protesting BJP leaders.

The BJP leaders and activists staged demonstrations at five places in Bhubaneswar- AG square, Jaydev Vihar, Palasuni, Khandagiri and Samantarapur.

Bhubaneswar BJP President, Babu Singh said, “It seems that the law and order situation has gone for a toss in Odisha and it can be easily compared to the situation in Pakistan. The way a cabinet minister was killed in broad daylight and there are other heinous crimes which are being reported almost every day. We demand Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s resignation.”

According to senior BJP leaders, today’s hartal was confined to Bhubaneswar and the party will stage demonstration in front of Collector office in all districts of the state tomorrow and stage a dharna in front of Raj Bhawan on February 16.

Countering the BJP, the ruling BJD also staged a demonstration against Centre’s policies. The BJD staged a demonstration and raised issues like reduction in the allocation of funds by Rs 20,000 crore in the annual budget for the year 2023-24, reduction in procurement of rice from 18 lakh MT to 4 lakh MT and discontinuance of 5 kg rice under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

Senior BJD leader, Debi Prasad Mishra said, “Today's protest is for the poor man’s right. Under NFSA, it is Centre’s responsibility to ensure food security. Even though Covid is almost over, its effects are still prevalent. Now a common cold and fever takes 9 to 10 days to subside and inflation is also on the rise. Under such circumstances, the Centre should restore allotment of rice for another two years.”

According to Mishra, a massive deduction has been made in the budget for the procurement of rice by the Centre. “Farmer is yet to get the desired MSP and if there will no proper food procurement, how the farmers’ income will be doubled?"

Mishra said that today we have submitted a memorandum to the President through Odisha Governor.

Responding to BJP’s protest over the deteriorating law and order situation, Mishra said, “Everybody has the right to protest in a democracy. I think they (BJP) have hit the streets over Naba Das murder and they should have waited for the outcome of the probe and there are also appropriate forums to discuss the matter.”

(By OdishaTV Bureau)