Shoes were hurled at Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik while he was addressing a public meeting during the by-poll campaign for the Bijepur Assembly constituency. As per reports, Naveen Patnaik was not hurt.
The incident happened in the Kumbhari village in Barpali block of Bargarh district at around 6 pm on Tuesday. CM Naveen Patnaik had just wrapped up his speech and started to leave the when a man in the audience hurled one shoe and then another which was stopped by his security guards.
The local police and security personnel detained the man, who is identified as Kartik Meher, a local youth. As per reports, he was allegedly thrashed by BJD activists and local villagers before the police could detain him. He was admitted to Barpali hospital.
— OTV (@otvnews) February 20, 2018
Leaders of both the Opposition parties BJP and Congress have condemned the attack. Though BJD has put allegations that BJP was behind the attacks.
BJP MLA for the neighbouring Padampur constituency Pradip Purohit has called the allegations baseless and added that it shows the anger of the common people towards the BJD government.
The CM was campaigning for Biju Janata Dal candidate Rita Sahu. Rita Sahu had joined BJD after her husband and Congress MLA Subal Sahu died in 2017. The Bijepur constituency seat had remained vacant after Subal Sahu’s demise. Rita Sahu had joined BJD after much political tussle by BJD and Congress. The constituency seat is set for by-polls on February 24 and political campaigns are in full swing. Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Giriraj Singh and Smriti Irani have also campaigned in Bijepur for the BJP candidate Ashok Panigrahi.
BJD MP Bijayant Panda has also tweeted about the incident and said that the protestors should choose nonviolent ways:
I’m in Japan, leading a multi party delegation of Indian MPs & just heard abt this! As I’ve said several times before, i *don’t* condone any protest that is physical, which could hurt someone. Whatever the grouse, i wish the protestor wd have chosen a different, nonviolent way… https://t.co/bKU86dZTf3
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) February 20, 2018
According to reports by OTV, the arrested youth had initially denied affiliation to any party, but later changed his statement and alleged that he acted at the behest of the BJP candidate. Ashok Panigrahi has denied the allegations.
Earlier in January, eggs were hurled at CM Patnaik while he was addressing a beach festival in Balasore. A woman was arrested for the incident.