Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday demanded the resignation of Odisha Labour Minister Srikanta Sahu after a female ruling-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member filed a complaint against him at Mahila Police Station.

As per reports, complainant Sanjukta Mahal went to the Mahila Police Station in Bhubaneswar on Thursday around 11 AM. At around 4 PM the police took her to the Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar for examination. The police then brought her back to the police station at around 8:30 PM. That is when she informed the media that she has filed a complaint against Odisha Labour Minister, Srikanta Sahu and she has faith in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give her justice.

“I do not fear anybody nor do I wish to negotiate at any cost. My complaint is against Labour Minister Srikanta Sahu. I have full faith in the law and party president Naveen Patnaik that they will give me justice,” said Mahal while coming out of the hospital with police.

However, when Mahal finally came out of the police station at around midnight, she refused to comment anything on her allegations, raising concerns that she might have been pressurised to keep mum.

Addressing a press conference, BJP State General Secretary, Lekhashree Samantsinghar said, “A BJD woman leader and a member of the party for 20 years, Sanjukta Mahal has brought allegations of sexual harassment against Polasara MLA and Odisha Labour Minister Srikanta Sahu.”

“Mahal was present at Mahila Police Station in Bhubaneswar from 10am yesterday till midnight to register her complaint, but the Police have not clarified anything on the FIR yet,” Samantsinghar added.

“Sahu is a minister. Does it make him immune to the law?” she asked.

She demanded Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to intervene in the matter and make sure that Mahal gets justice as soon as possible. Samantsinghar also expressed fears that Mahal’s life is in danger.

The Congress too came down hard on the BJD. Demanding the ouster of Sahu from the party, former Congress MLA Debasis Patnaik said, “Srikanta Sahu should be expelled from the party immediately. Similarly, another MLA, Bijay Shankar Das is hiding somewhere after cheating allegations by her girlfriend. Former Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra went scot-free. Nobody was punished by the party. People are watching all this and they will reject Naveen Patnaik in the next election."

Responding to the demands of BJP and Congress, BJD MLA, Bhagirathi Sethi said, “The Chief Minister is reviewing the allegation made by the complainant against Minister Srikanta Sahu. It will not be good to take action on the whimsical demands of the Opposition before studying the case thoroughly.”

Srikata Sahu was not available for comments on the allegations.

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