Opposition tightens noose around Minister Pradeep Maharathy

Bhubaneswar: Upping the ante against Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Minister, Pradeep Maharathy over his controversial remarks hailing the acquittal of Pipili gang rape and murder case accused, the Opposition parties intensified their attack demanding his immediate ouster.

Holding placards and shouting slogans against the minister and protesting the silence of CM Naveen Patnaik over the issue, hundreds of members of the women wing of the Congress party marched towards Naveen Niwas today. However, they were intercepted by the police leading to a scuffle. The agitating women also hurled tomatoes at the Police officials and staged a demonstration.

“CM Naveen is yet to act despite his minister’s irresponsible comments. We demand that the chief minister should immediately remove Maharathy from the cabinet,” said Congress leader Subhashree Panda.

President of the Mahila Congress, Sumitra Jena said the protests will not stop till Maharathy is removed from the government.  “In coming days we will also not hesitate to protest against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik if the issue is not resolved. If tomatoes are not enough then we cannot rule out egg attack in the future,” said Jena.

Similarly, BJP Mahila Morcha has warned that the members of the women wing of the saffron party will begin a bangle-collection programme from tomorrow under which bangles will be collected from women across the State to be presented to CM Naveen on January 10.

“The members of the Mahila Morhca will collect red bangles from every nook and corner of the State and we will gherao Naveen Niwas and present the bangles to the CM,” said Prabhati Parida, BJP Mahila Morcha leader.

However, Pradeep Maharathy refused to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, the ruling-BJD said that the government is not sitting idle. “The State government is not silent in such a sensitive issue connected to women. The people of the State will give a befitting reply to the ones who are trying to politicise the issue,” said BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra.