Pradeep Pattanayak

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday alleged that BJD leader Sanjukta Mahal has been appointed as a member of the Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board to keep her mouth shut and protect Labour Minister Srikanta Sahu. 

Sanjukta Mahal was the same woman who was in the news for lodging a complaint against Labour Minister Sahu at Mahila Police Station in Bhubaneswar on April 13. 

“To pacify or to rehabilitate Sanjukta Mahala, the state government has given her a post. Had this move taken prior to her lodging a sexual harassment case against the Labour Minister, it would have been more appropriate. The people of the state are well aware of the motive behind this move,” said BJP General Secretary, Lekhashree Samantasinghar.

On the other hand, the BJD denied the allegations and said she has been appointed as per her qualifications. 

“What you are saying about Sanjukta Mahala’s allegations is baseless. The police too don’t have any information in this regard. There is no question of rehabilitation. She may have the qualification to become a member,” said BJD MLA Raj Kishore Das, who was contacted over phone. 

After her appointment, Sanjukta, when contacted over her phone, said, “The Welfare Board is represented by the members of five central labour organisations. Seven months ago, Hind Mazdoor Sabha had recommended my name. Ahead of Labour Day, my name has been announced. The party has no role in it. It has given us renewed energy to keep our fight continue.”