Political war breaks out as BJP leader demands closure of BJD office for same breach of norms
A full-blown political war broke out in Odisha after the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has sealed the office of local MP and BJP national spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi on Saturday for her alleged disregard for coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols like wearing mask and maintaining social distancing.
Ms. Sarangi hit back demanding closure of the Biju Janata Dal party office where leaders had reportedly thrown the guidelines to the wind while celebrating party leaders’ birthday.
Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra on Friday wrote to Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai seeking to rein in Ms. Sarangi who is being accused of habitually violating the pandemic norms. She celebrated her birthday amidst scores of women supporters.
Early on Saturday, the BMC officials came to seal the Palaspalli office of the MP. According to the BMC, the office will remain closed for 15 days as it would have to be completely sanitised.
An enraged Ms. Sarangi presented 17 photographs showing BJD leaders attending functions at party office without masks and maintaining social distance.
She questioned the inaction of the authorities against virus-infected Minister Samir Ranjan Das and Satyabadi MLA Umakant Samantray for participating in the funeral procession of former Minister Pradeep Maharathy recently. Commissionerate police for Cuttack and Bhubaneswar had stood as mute spectators as hundreds of followers participated in the procession last week.
“The closure of my office is intended to halt developmental activities being taken up in wards and panchayats. As long as my office remains sealed, I will hold my grievance redressal sessions by the roadside,” said Ms. Sarangi.
She dared Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take action against his party leaders for violating the norms.
Mr. Samantray, against whom a case was lodged in the Seabeach police station, Puri, tendered an unconditional apology on Saturday for participating in the funeral procession despite testing positive.
The pandemic situation continued to remain grim. With 15 more deaths on Saturday, the toll has risen to 1,006. Similarly, the case load grew to 2,49,693. After recovery of 2,20,388 patients, the number of active cases stood at 28,246.
Of late, Khordha which covers Bhubaneswar, has emerged as the epicentre of the pandemic. Khordha has so far reported 42,280 cases accounting for 17% of the cases.
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