Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of shedding crocodile tears over the killing of BJP worker Manguli Jena in Khordha district and said that the party will respond to it by ballot and not bullet.
Jena was allegedly shot dead by two unidentified bike-borne miscreants near his party office on Sunday evening, the police said.
Condemning the murder of Khordha Mandal president Manguli Jena, Pradhan said, “We have to respond to his death not by the bullet, but by ballot. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen babu is shedding crocodile tears. The incident like this in a democracy is condemnable.”
The BJP leader’s reaction came after Patnaik, condemning the incident, said: “I strongly condemn the heinous murder that has taken place in Khordha and requested the Election Commissioner to direct the police to take strict action against those involved.”
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Odisha on April 16. We were making arrangements for it. I took all the details from Manguli Jena. But unfortunately, assailants shot him dead late last night,” Pradhan said while addressing the media here.
He also accused the state police of working on the orders of the Chief Minister. “Constitutional arrangements in Odisha have completely vanished. The police officers are working on the orders of Naveen Babu. Police are not supporting fairness but supporting the goons,” Pradhan said.
“The election process should be completed with fairness. The ruling party cannot misuse its power for the sake of ending the election process,” he added.
The Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Odisha are scheduled to be held simultaneously in four phases.
The remaining three phases will be held on April 18, 23 and 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.