Angul/Dera/Talcher, Dec 5:
The happenings in Talcher over the past few days have proved to be a huge shot in the arm for local MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan, whose stock has risen phenomenally as a leader who fights for the people. Conversely, the BJD government has come across as an enemy of the local people, which did not mind trampling upon the interests of the local people in an effort to protect the coal transport mafia.
Pradhan, it may be noted, was arrested from Bhubaneswar even as the winter session of the Assembly was on and then put behind bars for two days before he got bail in what is being seen here as an act of vindictiveness by a government that is batting for the mafia rather than the people of the area.
Labour leaders owing allegiance to the local MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan say that the coal mining business and labour politics are inseparable determinants of Talcher politics and the ruling party had hatched a well planned conspiracy to oust the MLA from the mines area.
A BJD supported local contractor, son of a highly placed IPS officer connected with mining business and the nephew (brother’s son) of a senior BJD leader were the conspirators, they said. The Angul district police was all set to execute the conspiracy, but backed out at the last minute primarily because of the overwhelming support that the MLA has managed to garner.
The persons behind the conspiracy have tried to wriggle out using masks. While Braja Kishore’s supporters were left sulking after the defeat in the civic elections, the recent flow of events has boosted their morale making Braja Kishore a hero in the eyes of the public.
The police have come across as stooges of the mafia, backed by the government, in public perception. A local contractor, allegedly supported by the BJD, had conspired to snatch away the livelihood of 129 local workers who had been working as contract labourers at a permanent railway siding for years together. The move to put the MLA behind bars was part of the conspiracy to deprive the 129 contract labourers of their livelihood. Had the conspiracy been successful, the MLA’s hold in the area would have been considerably reduced and the labourers would have sided with the ruling party, said sources. There are reports of plans having been drawn to put the MLA behind bars under the NSA in view of the elections around.
What is now apparent is that the police administration had tried to target a sitting MLA to put the ruling party’s vote banks in order, said sources. It was planned to shift the MLA to the central jail at Cuttack or Sambalpur on December 2 after booking him under NSA in order to avoid public resentment over his arrest. That the local jail authorities requested the Talcher SDJMto this effect is evident from court documents.
This apart, the Talcher Colliery police station, at the instance of the Angul district police, had on November 30 informed the court that the MLA had as many as 21 old criminal cases against him. In its forwarding note, the police had indirectly mentioned that national property was damaged and situation was created to immobilise the power system of the Central government and MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan was responsible for it. The big question is: what was the sinister motive behind the police using such language in its forwarding note?