Bargarh: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik once again had a narrow escape as shoes were thrown at him while he was campaigning for Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate for the ensuing Bijepur bypoll.
Patnaik was campaigning at Kumbhari under Barpali block while he was attacked. However, one of his alert personal security officers (PSOs) blocked the incoming objects. Soon after, the BJD supremo was whisked away from the spot.
The security personnel swooped on the attacker and took him under their custody. The youth, who was sitting in the front row, has been detained at the local police station, sources said.
The detained youth, identified as Kartik Meher from Padmapur area, is believed to be a worker of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a party flag and cards were found from his pocket, said Inspector-In-Charge of Barpali Police Station Subrat Behera.
He, however, denied to speak on the youth’s political affiliation to any particular party.
Confessing to his crime, the youth, showing no regret for his act, said: ” I did it (throwing shoes) after three people inspired me to do so without naming the three persons.”
Terming the attack a pre-planned one, BJD alleged the youth is a BJP worker. ” The BJP did it after knowing that it will not be able to win in Bijepur. It shows their (BJP) low mentality, frustration and goondaism.”
However, the BJP refuted the allegation.
“I condemn the attack on the Chief Minister. This is not an act of the BJP. The youth is yet to be identified and the investigation into the matter is yet to be started. But the ruling party has started blaming us. It shows their desperation due to imminent defeat in the by-poll,” said state BJP president Basant Panda.
The Congress too condemned the incident. ” Violence has no place in a democracy,” said senior Congress leader Niranjan Pattnaik.
Meanwhile, Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
Earlier, the CM was attacked with eggs by a woman while he was addressing a public meeting at Talsari in Bhograi block of Balasore district on January 31.