Baijayant attack:  Condemnation later, blame game begins

While CM Naveen Patnaik has ordered a probe into the incident, union minister Dharmendra Pradhan blamed the CM for instrumenting the attack

Bhubaneswar/Sambalpur: A day after the attack on Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda during a visit to Jatiparilo village under Mahanga to inaugurate an overhead water tank, chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik today ordered the party’s Cuttack observer to look into the case amid political mudslinging.

The chief minister, who had maintained silence for long said, “The BJD is against any form of violence and party discipline is against violence. I have asked the Cuttack observer to look into the matter.”

Mahanga legislator Pratap Jena, however, reasoned simmering ‘public discontent’ behind the attack on the BJD MP.  “Panda’s recent media statements have affected the party and upset supporters not only in Mahanga but across the State. Some locals told me that outsiders came to Mahanga in 10 vehicles along with the MP and they misbehaved with the villagers which led to violence,” Jena said, adding that he was in Shirdi when the incident happened.

“After I returned, I was saddened to know about the incident. However, it should be introspected why was the MP  attacked and whether the situation could have been avoided.”

On Baijayant’s decision to go to the place to inaugurate the project despite tell-tale signs of protest in the form of destruction of the plaque a day earlier, the minister said, “The MP was aware of some problems brewing. People’s representatives should not have stubborn attitude.”

Soon after the order of chief minister, Cuttack BJD observer Usha Devi said she will visit the spot soon to probe into the matter. “I will go to the spot and meet the locals. Discussion will also be held with district BJD president and party workers and accordingly I will prepare a report which will be submitted to the party chief”, Devi added.

However, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, today once again reiterated that every member of a party has right to express opinion. ‘’But the BJD has been shocked with the panchayat polls and not able to digest the results. Instead of taking healthy criticism in stride, the party instruments  physical attack which is undemocratic and condemnable. More so, when the chief minister has directed the attack to be carried out, how do you expect him to take action?,” he questioned.

Union minister Jual Oram said “It is not a good sign for Odisha. Attack on an MP during inauguration of a welfare project is unfortunate. I can’t say anything more when he himself is saying his party activities are decided by officers now-a-days”, added Oram.