BJD opposes Maoists pressure on MLA to resign

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thurday preferred to remain silent on the issue of proposed resignation of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka under pressure from his Maoist abductors but the ruling party rejected the idea outright.

"It will set a bad precedent to ask an elected people`s representative to resign. This is something against the democratic process," Finance Minister and BJD vice president Prafulla Chandra Ghadai said.

His views got support from the party rank and file. "It is personal choice of the MLA whether to continue or not. This is absolutely wrong to ask an MLA to put in his papers," said another vice president Damodar Rout, who is also a former minister.

Patnaik, who expressed his happiness over the release of his party MLA, however, refused to take question on the issue. He left the place as soon as reporters wanted to know his views on the reported resignation of Hikaka at the `praja` (people`s) court held by Maoists.

Veteran CPI leader Dwitikrushna Panda also denounced the idea. "You may be Maoist or anybody, but nobody can force an elected people`s representative to resign," he told reporters.

Hikaka himself avoided the question saying, "You will come to know everything later." The MLA, at the same time, also did not deny about his written commitment to the abductors to resign.

"They (Maoists) organised the praja court in their own style. They did not put pressure on me. Whatever happened there was done mutually," he told reporters after his release.

A woman Maoist leader Aruna in an audio message to media on Wednesday, however, said that the MLA had submitted a written commitment at the Praja Court to resign from the membership of the Odisha Legislative Assembly and snap all his ties with the ruling BJD.

The abductors, who brought Hikaka to the mango orchard at Balipeta in Koraput district, also played an audio tape in the MLA`s voice announcing his commitment to resign after getting released.