Training his guns on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, launched a diatribe on the CM over his silence in the Kalahandi schoolteacher Mamita Meher murder case.
Pradhan’s aggression took people by surprise as he had rarely criticized the CM over the last two years. The Union Minister had also remained silent on the Mamita case for almost one month while the BJP had carried out a sustained agitation demanding a CBI probe and resignation of Minister of state for home, Dibya Shankar Mishra.
Addressing a gathering yesterday at the state BJP office organised to induct former BJD Minister Sanjeeb Sahoo, the Union Minister said in the past CM Naveen Patnaik had sought the resignation of several ministers on moral grounds. But today, he is sitting mum when it comes to Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra.
Morality cannot have two different standards. Clearly, it is the arrogance of power that has set in, charged Pradhan, and went on to refer to mythological figures who symbolized arrogance.
He recalled that when BJDBJP were together in the year 2000, Vajpayeeji was invited to campaign in Athgarh where the issue raised by the BJD was the Anjana rape case.
The target was the then J B Patnaik government. Who campaigned on the issue, who raised it, he asked while noting that today when the Opposition raises the Mamita Meher case, the BJD says the opposition is politicizing a sensitive issue.
The Union Minister went on to allege that the petition filed in the court by the family of Mamita had been done at the behest of the ruling BJD.
The charge sheet has not been filed, 90 days have not lapsed and yet hurriedly a petition is filed in the court, he remarked.
Why is the government so scared? Why was Minister Mishra silent for 15 days? questioned Pradhan. He took a dig at the Chief Minister’s Office and said those who run the show include police officers who get intelligence wing reports and who understand the meaning of ‘circumstantial evidence’.
Pradhan listed out several other failures of the state government and said there are at least 25 lakh doses of vaccine stock in the state. The central government provides vaccines free of cost and it is the duty of the state to administer them as soon as possible, he said.
The District Mineral Fund is misused. There is corruption at every level. Work is done without inviting tenders, he alleged.
He claimed that when he had asked an officer about DMF-related work being done without tender, the officer pleaded that ‘orders came from above.