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Odisha: Clash with Police may fetch Congress more blame than any gain

 
 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ODISHA, CONGRESS, PROTEST, CLASH, NAVEEN PATNAIK 

"When Congress party and the UPA government at the centre are facing a terrible situation in the parliament for being involved in scams of lakhs of crores of rupees, who will buy to its preaching about political system and transparency in Odisha? It’s more like diverting people’s attention and saving its own face by blaming the other."

 

Basudev Mahapatra

 
 

The ruckus outside the Odisha Assembly, on September 6, 2012, might have been a design to win over public sympathy against ruling party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, but it didn’t seem to be that in the end of the day. Rather, visuals of Congress supporters thrashing a policewoman on the road and a young supporter kicking at the abdomen of the helpless injured policewoman brought more pain to the common man who almost remained shocked for a while imagining if the Youngman was in a highly intoxicated state or was in the protest with a clear criminal intent.

About one lakh people from different parts of Odisha joined the rally held by Indian National Congress’ Odisha unit to remind people of various scams took place or were uncovered during the rule of Naveen Patnaik.

 

Congress leaders on the dais demanded resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik terming him the most corrupt and surrounded by series of scams.

The plan was to storm the Assembly building. But, finally as police stopped the protesters from doing so, the protest rally ended up with clash between the party workers or supporters and the police force where about 260 persons including congress party workers, several media persons who were on their job of covering events, 60 policemen and one policewoman were injured.

‘This government is a blot on the face of democracy. It doesn’t give any freedom to raise voice against any injustice. When it knew that people are awakened about all its wrong deeds and joined the protest rally in huge numbers, the Chief Minister, using the state police force, tried to curb the mass in a barbaric manner by applying teargas cells, beating people, firing at them, making women and journalists bleed, breaking legs of the workers. Who has given this government the right to do this?” said senior Congress leader Mirza Beg who joined the protest rally as a speaker.

On the other hand, several police officials and BJD leaders blame the Congress supporters who joined the party as creator of such a situation that panicked ordinary people for some time. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hit back at Congress by stating that, “As you can notice that various congress leaders at today’s meeting in Bhubaneswar are continuing with their own habit of making false allegations against our state government. As the whole nation can see, they are in big trouble in the houses of the parliament – both in the Rajyasabha (Upper house) and in the Loksabha (Lower house) – with a number of serious scams. And, when they speak of their promises today to the people, I think, all we have to do is remember even just one example of the promise they made in the 2009 general elections – of three rupee rice to the poor people of India. Three years have passed, what has happened to their promise?”

So, the political crossfire is on. It’s still not known how things went out of control and who exactly is responsible for it. But the sympathy of being attacked by state police or being attempted by the government to crash down the opposition forces doesn’t seem to go to Congress as well because the party has deeper blots on its face with a series of scams amounting huge loss to the national exchequer. “When Congress party and the UPA government at the centre are facing a terrible situation in the parliament for being involved in scams of lakhs of crores of rupees, who will buy to its preaching about political system and transparency in Odisha? It’s more like diverting people’s attention and saving its own face by blaming the other”, said a retired government employee while watching the news bulletin in a pan-shop.

Owner of the tea-shop, just beside the pan-shop, was so shocked with the visual where a young congress protester kicks at the abdomen of the policewomen that he said, “if this party and its leaders have little morality and respect for womanhood, they must first hand trace this young man and hand him over to police and then demand for any inquiry.”

The tea vender from a distant village represents Odisha’s rural mindset and the obvious reaction over this visual across the rural Odisha. His immediate reaction indicates at a bigger loss for congress party than any gain from the rally and the clash between party workers and state police.

 
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