Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 6:
While other chief ministers have started emulating new Dehi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has shunned all security paraphernalia and even the customary red beacon vehicle, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has actually scaled up his security while campaigning for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) affecting basic policing in the state capital.
After the Navanirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) protested in front of the chief minister’s cavalcade on December 24, the Commissionerate Police was busy providing security to Patnaik by deploying police personnel at every square and all along the road the chief minister’s cavalcade moved during the campaigning for BMC polls.
It also diverted routes for chief minister during campaigning, leaving commuters stranded or searching for alternate routes.
According to police sources, the CP deployed Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Nitinjeet Singh along with DCP (Traffic) S Shyni, four ACP officers, 16 inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors and 32 ASIs, along with additional forces, for the chief minister’s security.
This resulted in most of the sensitive police stations remaining vacant with officers assigned to manage crowds and provide security to the CM. With a majority of inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors thus tied up, routine investigations have been crippled.
Besides, it has affected the campaigning by opposition parties and Independent candidates as the police stopped non-BJD candidates from taking out their rallies in various wards while the chief minister was electioneering in the area.
It is to be noted that the Mancheswar police on Friday detained a Congress candidate of ward 5 for several hours so that Naveen could conduct a hassle-free campaign.
“Our candidates were prevented from campaigning as the police sealed several routes for the chief minister’s campaign. They also did not allow us to campaign during the campaigning of Naveen Patnaik,” said city Congress president Manoranjan Dash.
“The common people are forced to wait and vehicles are stranded to ensure the safety of the chief minister. While Delhi chief minister has refused to take security and is moving in his personal car, our chief minister has enhanced his security causing avoidable problems to the commuters,” said Sandhyarani Sahu, a resident of the city.
She also said that the chief minister should give importance to women’s security first instead of enjoying unnecessary security himself while travelling in the city.
The CP is already crippled with a shortage of staff with officers frequently citing it as an excuse for delay in investigation into high-profile cases.
Several posts in sensitive police stations like Saheed Nagar, Laxmisagar, Mancheswar, Kharvel Nagar, Nayapalli and Khandagiri were lying vacant. Only a constable or an ASI-rank officer was available at most of these stations during the campaigning.