Odisha CM Being Held 'Captive' By Close Aide VK Pandian, Says BJP In Letter To DGP, State Chief Secretary

The former BJP state president said that the recent campaign videos suggested that the Odisha CM was acting like Pandian's puppet.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and BJD leader VK Pandian (L). Photo: X/@Naveen_Odisha

Amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the Odisha BJP unit wrote to the state chief secretary and Director General of Police to free Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik from close aide VK Pandian's "captivity".

This came amid the allegations levelled by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister Giriraj Singh that Patnaik was being held captive by his close associate, BJD leader VK Pandian.

Writing a letter to DGP Arun Kumar Sarangi and CS Pradeep Kumar Jena, former BJP state president Samir Mohanty said that many incidents proved that Patnaik was being "held hostage".

Addressing a press conference, former BJP state president Samir Mohanty expressed shock over video messages released by the BJD showing Patnaik in what they described as a helpless condition.

Mohanty termed one to be particularly humiliating, the video message where Patnaik was in a T-shirt, urging people to vote for the BJD.

"The way in which Naveen Babu has been presented in the videos has shocked the people of the state. The BJD president’s video, which showed him wearing a T-shirt and appealing to vote for the conch symbol of the party, was not only shocking but also humiliating for all of us," Mohanty said.

He said that the recent campaign videos suggested that the Odisha CM was acting like Pandian's puppet.

In some videos, Mohanty said, "Tamil Babu is asking a question and Naveen is answering like a robot. Those also have fun music in the background. Such silly acts have never been appreciated by the chief minister."

The former BJP state president cited Sarma and Singh's concern and said this the extent that the matter has aggravated to.

Earlier, the Assam CM had said, "I am the chief minister of a state. I can personally meet anyone and people can also meet me. The same is in the case of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, However, the Odisha Chief Minister cannot meet anyone personally."

"No one can also meet him alone as Pandian always stays with him," Sarma said, adding that someone like the chief justice or a judge of the Odisha High Court or the Governor should talk to Patnaik alone to ensure he is not under duress.

Meanwhile, Pandian addressed an election rally in Nimapara and reminded Sarma that Naveen Patnaik was a Cabinet Minister in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Cabinet.

"Naveen Babu worked with the guru of your guru. He was a Cabinet minister in PM Vajpayee's Cabinet. Since Assam CM is a guest in Odisha, I will not tell much," Pandian said.

"But I will pray Mahaprabhu (Lord Jagannath) to inculcate in him the right values so that he knows how to speak about a popular CM", Pandian said," the BJD leader said.

(With PTI inputs)