KENDRAPARA: Even as the 12-hour bandh called by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and traders’ associations affected normal life in the district, BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held a roadshow to campaign for party candidate Sabitri Agarwalla in Patkura Assembly segment on Wednesday.
Addressing the public during the roadshow, Naveen urged voters to elect Sabitri for development of Patkura.
“Vote for Sabitri Agrawalla. I will look after Patkura constituency personally,’’ he said. Naveen, however, had to skip several villages in the Assembly segment due to the bandh which was observed to protest police inaction on the attack on BJP leader and vice-president of district unit of VHP Vivekananda Moharana.
Vivekananda was shot at by unidentified miscreants at Tinimuhani on Saturday night. On the day, business establishments downed their shutters while vehicles remained off the roads due to the bandh. Bus services were also hit.
The bandh caused major inconvenience to the public who faced problems in withdrawing money from ATMs which remained closed.
The protesters, comprising activists of VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP, organised rallies and staged sit-ins at important junctions in the district.
They blocked both the national and State highways at various places and did not even allow private vehicles to operate.
The bandh supporters, however, kept patients, doctors and medicine shops out of the ambit of the strike. VHP district president Banambar Sahoo said, “Traders and locals joined the bandh call and hit the streets.
Today’s bandh has shown that people of Kendrapara will not tolerate attacks on innocents.”
The district administration had made elaborate security arrangements for the Chief Minister’s visit and to ensure a peaceful bandh.
Kendrapara SDPO Rajiv Lochan Panda said 20 platoons of police force were deployed in Kendrapara to maintain law and order situation.
“The district administration has appealed to people to maintain peace and communal harmony in the district. Police are keeping a close watch in the sensitive areas of Kendrapara town and nearby areas,” he said.
Patkura Assembly seat, which goes to polls on July 20, will witness a triangular fight between BJD’s Sabitri, BJP candidate Bijay Mohapatra and Jayanta Kumar Mohanty of Congress.
The election is more important for the BJP and BJD as the saffron outfit’s candidate and Naveen’s bete noire Bijay Mohapatra is contesting from the seat.
Kendrapara SP manhandles scribe
The alleged manhandling of a journalist of a private TV channel by SP Niti Sekhar during the visit of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Patkura on Wednesday snowballed into a major controversy.
The incident took place at the helipad in Barimula village when the journalist tried to reach near the chopper of the Chief Minister.
Sekhar was reported to have shoved the scribe and even raised his hand at him. This was captured in a video which went viral on social media on the day.
The District Journalists’ Association condemned the incident and threatened to boycott the IPS officer. Later, the SP tendered an apology over the incident.
“It was unintentional. During crowd control, the incident took place. I apologise for it,” Sekhar said.