BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today preferred to remain silent on the issue of proposed resignation of BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka under pressure from his Maoist abductors but the ruling party rejected the idea outright.
"It will set a bad precedent to ask an elected people's representative to resign. This is something against the democratic process," Finance Minister and BJD vice president Prafulla Chandra Ghadai said.
His views got support from the party rank and file. "It is personal choice of the MLA whether to continue or not. This is absolutely wrong to ask an MLA to put in his papers," said another vice president Damodar Rout, who is also a former minister.
Patnaik, who expressed his happiness over the release of his party MLA, however, refused to take question on the issue.
He left the place as soon as reporters wanted to know his views on the reported resignation of Hikaka at the 'praja' (people's) court held by Maoists.
Veteran CPI leader Dwitikrushna Panda also denounced the idea. "You may be Maoist or anybody, but nobody can force an elected people's representative to resign," he told reporters.
Hikaka himself avoided the question saying, "You will come to know everything later."
The MLA, at the same time, also did not deny about his written commitment to the abductors to resign.
"They (Maoists) organised the praja court in their own style. They did not put pressure on me. Whatever happened there was done mutually," he told reporters after his release.
A woman Maoist leader Aruna in an audio message to media yesterday, however, said that the MLA had submitted a written commitment at the Praja Court to resign from the membership of the Odisha Legislative Assembly and snap all his ties with the ruling BJD.
The abductors, who brought Hikaka to the mango orchard at Balipeta in Koraput district, also played an audiotape in the MLA's voice announcing his commitment to resign after getting released.
Earlier report :
BHUBANESWAR: Freed from Maoist captivity, Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka today avoided speaking about what took place at the 'praja' (people's) court where he was produced before his release.
"They (Maoists) organised the praja court in their own style. There was discussion on different issues. They did not put pressure on me. Whatever happened there was done mutually," he told reporters after reaching his residence at Laxmipur in Koraput district.
Asked if he would resign from the membership of the assembly and quit BJD as claimed by woman Maoist leader Aruna in an audio tape released yesterday, Hikaka said, "You will know everything later."
Asked categorically whether he put in his papers, he said a praja court was not a platform to resign.
"You will be able to know everything. Please do not ask me anything in this regard as I am mentally disturbed," he said.
Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat said "I have not received any resignation letter from the MLA."
The Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) which abducted the MLA on March 24, had however, claimed that Hikaka gave a written undertaking at the praja court that he would resign from the Assembly and from the BJD and work for the people.
The MLA said his release was the outcome of support from the tribals and media coupled with his own efforts.
"I specially thank media persons who have been working day in and out since my abduction," he said.
The MLA said that he had been worried about the people of Laxmipur and his family during the 33 days he was held captive.
Hikaka said that he was treated well and provided medicines as required. "I am in good health. I was moved from place to place thrice."