Pandemonium in Odisha Assembly as Opposition demands Naveen Patnaik's resignation
Ten days after they abducted two Italian nationals, Maoists on Saturday kidnapped a ruling BJD MLA near Tayaput in Koraput district of Odisha.
Jhina Hikaka was abducted by a group of armed Maoists at 1 a.m. when he was returning from the district headquarters town of Koraput to his house in his constituency, Laxmipur.
Mr. Hikaka's personal security officer and driver were allowed to return.
The Maoists, who were observing a day-long bandh called by the Srikakulam-Koraput division of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), had pasted posters on Mr. Hikaka's vehicle. Among other things, the Maoists demanded that the ongoing anti-Maoist operation ‘Green Hunt' be stopped; tribals who were put behind bars for their alleged links with the ultras be released; and political prisoners lodged in different jails in Odisha be freed.
Opposition members raised the kidnap issue in the Assembly and disrupted the proceedings.
They demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who holds the Home portfolio.
Congress and BJP members broke the Speaker's microphone as pandemonium prevailed, leading to repeated adjournments.
Even as the Opposition legislators raised anti-government slogans, the Chief Minister made a statement that he had sent Ministers Surjya Narayan Patro and Lal Bihari Himirika to Koraput to defuse the crisis.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Patnaik spoke to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and apprised him of the legislator's kidnap.
He also spoke to Mr. Hikaka's wife over telephone and assured her that the government was taking all possible measures for his safe release.