BHUBANESWAR: A day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary V K Pandian making critical remarks targeting a lawmaker, opposition Congress and BJP on Saturday said the ruling BJD has no respect for the elected people’s representatives in Odisha.
Odisha’s controversial bureaucrat, who held a grievance meeting in Gopalpur assembly segment in Ganjam district on Friday, without taking any name, had targeted a MLA saying he was against bringing back migrant labourers to their villages during Covid pandemic period.
In response to the bureaucrat’s statement, three-time MLA from Gopalpur Pradeep Panigrahi said, ”He is a liar. Let CM justify his statement.” This was considered as the first political statement made by Pandian, a 2000 batch IAS officer, against any politician in the state even as he was holding grievance meetings across the state with direction of Patnaik.
The opposition parties denounced Pandian’s remarks and also in the manner in which the police did not take action against the people who hurled eggs and water bottles targeting Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi who was on his way to the grievance meeting (by Pandian’s) held under his assembly segment.
Though Panigrahi was not hurt in the incident, his vehicle bore the marks of egg hurling. He later left the place where BJD supporters allegedly prevented him from going to his assembly segment. Panigrahi was expelled from the BJD on charges of his alleged involvement in ”anti-people” activities in 2020.
Reacting to Friday’s incident and Pandian targeting an elected MLA at a public meeting, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Sarat Pattnayak said, ”The officer should remain within ‘laxman rekha’ and do his job instead of making statements against elected peoples’ representatives.” Stating that it was unfortunate on the part of a bureaucrat to give a statement against an elected people’s representative in his own constituency, the Congress leader also criticised the government for no action against people who indulged in the egg attack on Panigrahi.
He said the state government has earlier framed charges under Section 307 (attempt to murder) against Congress workers and leaders who pelted eggs targeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s cavalcade.
”However, police did not take any action against the people who hurled eggs and water bottle on Panigrahi’s vehicle,” he pointed out.
Senior Congress leader and MLA SS Saluja said, ”It seems that the law is different for ruling party supporters and workers.” He also openly announced that the Congress workers and supporters will hurl eggs and throw ink at Pandian wherever he visits.
Opposition BJP leaders Lekhasri Samantsinghar also launched a scathing attack on Patnaik over his private secretary publicly making insulting statement against an elected people’s representative.
”If the 5T Secretary is indulging in such activities and targeting an MLA with political motive then he should resign from government service and jump into active politics,” the BJP leader said.
Senior BJD leader and former MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik, however, defended Pandian’s statement and said, ”There is no harm in speaking the truth. Anyone can say truth and all should respect truth.”
Source: Press Trust of India