The ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday asked the BJP lawmakers to mind their language and not to cross the "limit" while using words against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The BJD's strong reaction came after BJP MLAs posted a letter to Patnaik over the issues related to the kidnap and murder of the Kalahandi woman teacher.
The saffron party lawmakers in the open letter to the Chief Minister accused Patnaik of maintaining a double standard in the Kalahandi case. "You (CM) had taught the lesson of morality to former chief minister J B Patnaik during a gang rape incident in 1999. You have also in the past sacked ministers and leaders in the name of morality. Where are your morals in Kalahandi case," the BJP wrote in the letter. This apart, the BJP MLAs also strongly condemned Patnaik for not attending the Assembly even once since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic even as he visited different districts. "Where are you hiding instead of coming to the Assembly," the BJP letter asked.
Taking strong exception to the BJP's words and actions against Patnaik, party lawmakers Pramila Mallick and Atanu S Nayak in a press conference here said that the saffron party's behaviour was against the very Odia culture. "You (BJP) have to pay a heavy price for using such languages against the Chief Minister. We condemn it," said Government Chief Whip and senior BJD leader Pramila Mallick. Stating that it is not new in politics that the opposition parties criticize the ruling party and even protest against the government, Mallick said: "Never before the opposition have sacrificed democratic values and dignity of the posts. The BJP has gone down to very low for the sake of opposing the government." Citing an instance, Mallick said that BJP activists has hurled bottles and chappals targeting the chief minister during the campaign for the by-election in Bijepur. "Similarly, the BJP activists indulged in egg attack on the chief minister's convoy. The BJP's letter to the chief Minister shows saffron party MLAs low taste and lack of culture," she said.
The BJD leader said that the people of Odisha who have voted Naveen Patnaik to power for five consecutive times will never forgive the BJP for their behaviour towards the chief minister. The opposition BJP and the Congress have been demanding the removal of Minister of State for Home, DS Mishra, accusing him of sheltering the prime accused in the Kalahandi woman teacher's kidnap and murder case. Opposition parties have been staging agitations across the state demanding the removal of Mishra.
The woman teacher was killed on October 8 and her body was exhumed from 10 feet deep ground in the campus of the school where the 24-year-old teacher worked.