BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa SarmaPhoto | X @BJP4India

BJP's Himanta claims VK Pandian 'controlling' Odisha CM, calls for HC Judge's intervention

Sarma claimed that several BJD members have expressed concerns about Patnaik's lack of private interactions over the past decade, always accompanied by Pandian.

SAMBALPUR: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday raised concerns regarding the autonomy and well-being of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, alleging that Biju Janata Dal leader VK Pandian effectively captured Patnaik, restricting his ability to interact independently.

"This election is about the dignity of Odisha," Sarma said.

He emphasised that, as a Chief Minister, he travels alone, meets people freely, and is accessible to the media. In contrast, he noted that Patnaik is never seen without Pandian by his side.

"I am also a Chief Minister of a state, but I have come alone. I can speak alone, I can meet people, and people can meet me just like you all (media persons) are meeting me now. But the Chief Minister of Odisha cannot meet anyone alone, he cannot speak to people alone, and VK Pandian is always with him. One needs to find out whether Naveen Babu himself is with Pandian or if Pandian is playing some game, due to which Naveen Babu cannot get out of Pandian's grip," Sarma alleged.

He also claimed that a high court judge, a neutral figure, should speak to Patnaik privately to assess his well-being and ensure he is not under duress.

"I believe a High Court judge should speak to Naveen Babu alone to see if he is happy and if he is okay. I mentioned a High Court judge because they would be neutral. Once, a high court judge should speak to Naveen Babu alone for 10 minutes. I have spoken to many friends in the BJD, and in the last 10 years, no one has met Naveen Babu alone. Whenever they meet, Pandian is with him, and Naveen Babu only says 'ok, ok,' nothing more," Sarma alleged.

"Whether there is an election or not, I believe a High Court judge should speak to Naveen Babu alone once. What is happening today is an extraordinary situation; this is not a normal situation. If Naveen Babu is happy, then we are also happy. I feel that Pandian has literally captured Naveen Babu," he added.

Sarma claimed that several BJD members have expressed concerns about Patnaik's lack of private interactions over the past decade, always accompanied by Pandian.

"If a CM, a constitutionally elected CM, is in a hostage situation, it is not good for the country and not good for Odisha," Sarma said.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, along with Union Minister and BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Sambalpur, Dharmendra Pradhan, offered prayers at 'Maa Samaleswari' temple in Sambalpur today.

Polling for Sambalpur will be held on May 25. Dharmendra Pradhan is up against three-time MLA Pranab Prakash Das of the BJD and Nagendra Pradhan of Congress.

Assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections in Odisha are being held simultaneously in four phases, running from May 13 to June 1.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJD won 12 seats, the BJP finished a close second at 8, and the Congress bagged just a lone seat. In the 2014 general elections, the BJD won 20 seats and the BJP managed to secure one seat.

In the 2019 Assembly election, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) won 112 out of 146 seats, while Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) won 23 seats and Congress won 9.

The Lok Sabha elections are being held across seven phases, from April 19 to June 1. The counting is scheduled for June 4.

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