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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 15:

A day after Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was denied security cover — as given in the protocol — for his Malkangiri tour, Odisha BJP targeted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and called it a conspiracy against the union minister.

KV Singh Deo

Addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar today, BJP Legislature Party leader KV Singh Deo alleged that the district administration took the decision based on directions of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“We went around the entire programme without any police personnel. When we started from BSF camp to Palkonda village, there were two police escort vehicles for the minister. But after covering a distance of around two kilometres, the escort vehicles pulled up to the side and stayed back,” said  Singh Deo.

“After we arrived at the guest house, neither the Collector nor the SP met the minister. We completed our peaceful visit of the area. The State government should have at least maintained the security protocol provided to the Union Minister,” he added.

Apart from security issue, he chided the Chief Minister for staying away from Malkangiri intentionally and said, “It is unfortunate that the chief minister has time to roam around several places to inaugurate development projects. But he has no time to visit Malkangiri till now”.

BJD Spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera, on the other hand, refuted the allegations and called it an attempt by BJP to divert attention from the core issue.

“There are no conspiracies in it. The minister, after all, went there and came back safely. Union Government is yet to issue its share of mosquito nets. That is an issue more important at this point than the tour of a minister. BJP is trying to divert attention from the core issue,” shot back Behera.