“Patnaik is probably the first Chief Minister, who used a chopper to visit Cuttack, barely 25 km from Bhubaneswar… By road, it takes 20 to 25 minutes. This only goes to prove how terrified he is,” pointed out Congress leader Suresh Mohapatra.
With the ‘egg attack’ on his convoy by Youth and Student Congress members here still fresh in memory, the Chief Minister was obviously not taking any chances. The chopper ride was clearly designed to avoid a rerun of the February 19 incident when Congress activists had broken his security cordon and pelted stones and eggs on his carcade.
Three police officials, including two of ACP rank, have been suspended and 18 Congress members arrested and charged with section 307 (attempt to murder) in an action that is indicative of the extent of panic in the establishment after the incident.
BJD leaders made a feeble attempt to attribute what was essentially an act of panic to a ‘busy schedule’. But there were no takers for this theory propounded by Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debashish Samantaray.
A police officer in the Chief Minister’s security entourage gave the game away when he said, on condition of anonymity, that he was ‘advised’ to take a chopper following an ‘intelligence input’.