Somatirtha Purohit

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Lok Sabha MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi faced protest by BJD activists over cooking gas price hike during a 'padyatra' at Khanduala slum in Ward number-61 of the Capital city, on Saturday.

BJD leader Samaresh Beura, who led the protest, said, “Odisha’s major economy is dependent on agriculture and many farmers are below poverty line. How will they survive if the price of cooking gas is so high? The hiked price is compelling them to look for alternatives in order to keep the kitchen fire burning,” he questions.

Responding to the allegations, Sarangi said, “I welcome all democratic protests. However, the protest by BJD workers smacks of ego and arrogance more than their right to express. All Odias are close to me. I will reiterate again that I am ready to help any BJD, Congress or apolitical worker who seeks help in any initiative for development.”

Sarangi added, “Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is the legislative head of the State and it is his duty to protect an elected representative of people. Today I think he is doing his duty,” she said while taking a veiled dig at the administration’s failure in preventing the spate of attacks on her recently.

Earlier on Thursday, the BJP MP had faced egg attack by members of the Student (Chhatra) Congress at Balipatna square on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar over unemployment, rise in fuel and cooking gas prices. The Congress members also showed black flag to the MP as a mark of protest while hurling eggs at her carcade.

Later in the night, Sarangi was at an interactive programme with elderly citizens of Bhubaneswar near Acharya Vihar when a group of alleged BJD workers held protest and pelted stones and eggs. Following this, a scuffle broke out between BJP and BJD workers.

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