Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jun 28:
Ahead of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s visit to Puri to participate in the Rath Yatra coordination committee meeting, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today staged demonstrations and waved black flags to protest his visit to the Pilgrim City.
Scores of the saffron party activists staged a demonstration at Jhadeswar Square in the city to protest against the attack on Union Textiles Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar’s cavalcade in Bargarh while he was on his way to participate in the Vikas Utsav event.
The protesters shouted slogans ‘BJD Ra Julam Chaliba Nahi, Naveen Patnaik Hai Hai’. The protesters entered into a scuffle with the security personnel after which at least nine activists were taken into preventive custody.
“Chief Minister’s Puri visit was not party meeting. It was Rath Yatra review meeting. It is unfair to compare Bargarh incident with any other thing. BJP’s protest is sheer desperation,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.
In view of Chief Minister’s visit, 22 platoons of police personnel were deployed in the city to rule out any awkward situation. Besides, police forces were also deployed along the National Highway and Chief Minister’s cavalcade reached the meeting venue at Gopabandhu Ayurvedic College amid high security.
According to reports, seven BJP workers were detained here yesterday.
Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today attended a review meeting on upcoming Rath Yatra in the first week of July. Health, sanitation, traffic management, security and communication facilities would be the prime areas of discussion, sources said.
Ministers and secretaries of concerned departments, district administration officials and servitors of Jagannath temple attended the meeting.