ROURKELA: THE seven-hour shut-down, called by Sundargarh unit of BJP to protest the egg attack on Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Friday, was partially successful. The BJP leaders and members blocked highways and staged protests from 6 am to 1 pm as part of the shut-down.
At Sundargarh district headquarters town, shops, business establishments and State Government offices were closed while movement of vehicles was disrupted with the BJP men staging blockades at multiple locations of State Highway 10. Transportation of coal in Hemgir block was disrupted at a few places including Kanika railway siding while the office of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd was partly closed. However, coal mining operation was not affected. Some BJP activists were rounded up by the police from Sundargarh collectorate.
In Talsara and Rajgangpur, the shut-down evoked partial response. At Bonai, offices and banks were forced to close by BJP activists. Birmitrapur and Raghunathpali remained mostly unaffected by the bandh. However, the shut-down was total in Sundargarh Assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, the mixed response to the bandh call has exposed lack of coordination between the leaders of different divisional units of the party. While a section of BJP leaders blamed the hurried announcement by Sundargarh unit president BK Mishra without consulting the presidents of Panposh and Bonai units, another section of the party alleged lack of coordination among presidents of Sundargarh, Panposh and Bonai units.
Panposh unit president of BJP Jagabandhu Behera claimed that they were not informed about the shut-down in advance. They staged a demonstration at Panposh Square of Rourkela city.
However, condemning the egg attack on Oram, Odisha unit BJP secretary Dhiren Senapati said the culprits should also be booked under ST/SC Atrocities Act and the incident should be treated with same seriousness like in case of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Besides BJD, local leaders held Congress leaders responsible for the attack.
Meanwhile, Oram, in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has directly blamed ‘goons of the ruling BJD’ for the attack and called it an undemocratic behaviour. He stated that his vehicle was pelted with eggs and stones at four places between Rajkanika and Kendrapara exposing lack of security measures by the State administration. He also referred to similar attack on Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
Oram urged the Home Minister to instruct Odisha Government to inquire into the matter and advise it to ensure adequate security arrangement for Union Ministers.