BJP appeals to Odisha CS, DGP to free CM Patnaik from Pandian’s ‘captivity’

Bhubaneswar, May 23 (PTI) Amidst allegations from Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister Giriraj Singh that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik was being held captive by his close associate, BJD leader VK Pandian, the Odisha unit of the BJP on Thursday appealed to the state chief secretary and DGP to “free the ruling BJD president from captivity”.

At a press conference, former BJP state president Samir Mohanty expressed shock over video messages released by the BJD showing Patnaik in what they described as a helpless condition.

He deemed one video particularly humiliating, showing Patnaik in a T-shirt urging people to vote for the BJD.

“The way in which Naveen Babu has been presented in the videos has shocked the people of the state. The BJD president’s video, which showed him wearing a T-shirt and appealing to vote for the conch symbol of the party, was not only shocking but also humiliating for all of us,” Mohanty said.

Mohanty further claimed that recent campaign videos indicated Patnaik was acting like a puppet under Pandian’s influence.

“In some videos, Tamil Babu is asking a question and Naveen is answering like a robot. Those also have fun music in the background. Such silly acts have never been appreciated by the chief minister,” he added.

Mohanty said the situation has aggravated to such an extent that Sarma and Singh have also expressed their concern on the matter.

“I am the chief minister of a state. I can personally meet anyone and people can also meet me. The same is in the case of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, However, the Odisha Chief Minister cannot meet anyone personally. No one can also meet him alone as Pandian always stays with him,” Sarma said.

“I feel that the chief justice or a judge of Orissa High Court or Governor should talk to Naveen babu alone to assess his well-being and ensure he is not under duress,” he suggested.

Addressing an election meeting at Nimapara, Pandian reminded the Assam CM that Naveen Babu was a Cabinet Minister in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet

“Naveen Babu worked with the guru of your guru. He was a Cabinet minister in PM Vajpayee’s Cabinet. Since Assam CM is a guest in Odisha, I will not tell much. But I will pray Mahaprabhu (Lord Jagannath) to inculcate in him the right values so that he knows how to speak about a popular CM”, Pandian said.

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