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Pradeep Pattanayak

The State units of Congress and BJP on Wednesday upped the ante against the ruling BJD government accusing it of showing double standard while taking action against its Jharigaon MLA against whom a sexual harassment case has been registered. 

Demanding arrest of the BJD’s Jharigaon MLA Prakash Majhi, the leaders and workers of the district unit of Congress in Nabarangpur assembled at Jharigaon bus stand and burnt an effigy of the legislator. Then they took out a rally through the town which culminated at the Jharigaon police station. They submitted a memorandum meant for the DGP, demanding arrest of Majhi. 

Coming down heavily on the ruling government, the BJP also warned that it would intensify the agitation in coming days if no action is taken against the MLA. 

“Why Prakash Majhi has not been quizzed? Why no FIR has so far been lodged against him? In coming days we will gherao SP’s office and, if required, will call for a bandh across Nabarangpur district,” said President of District Congress Committee of Nabarangpur, Muna Tripathi. 

“Demanding arrest of the MLA we had earlier staged a demonstration in Nabarangpur. We agitation would be intensified if the government doesn’t take step against the MLA,” said BJP’s State General Secretary, Golak Mohapatra.

“A woman lodged a complaint at Khandagiri police station accusing Jharigaon MLA of harassing her sexually. No case has been registered. In Mahanga double murder case, Minister Pratap Jena’s name was mentioned in the FIR. Similarly, in Mamita Meher murder case, the family members of the slain lady teacher alleged the involvement of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra. But all of them have been spared. On the other hand, our Deogarh MLA Subash Panigrahi was arrested overnight without any investigation. It is unfortunate,” said BJP MLA Mohan Charan Majhi.

“Women and people have been murdered but no action has been taken against those (BJD leaders) whose names figure in the FIR. They are ruling so let’s wait and see what steps they are taking,” said OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik. 

However, the BJD said the law will take its own course. 

“During Naveen Patnaik’s rule, there would be no question of showing double standard. The law will take its own course,” observed BJD MLA Swarup Das. 

On the one hand Subash Panigrahi has been admitted at VIMSAR in Burla as his condition deteriorated and on the other hand, BJP MLAs met Speaker Surya Narayan Patro, registering their protest against the arrest of Panigrahi. 

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