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BJP MLA withdraws support in Orissa

Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in Orissa led by Naveen Patnaik faced an embarrassing situation on Wednesday when a BJP legislator announced withdrawal of support to the government.

Brundaban Majhi, representing the Laikera constituency, said he had handed over the letter to party’s State unit president Suresh Pujari. The letter was addressed to the Speaker.

He wanted to withdraw support to the government as it had failed to protect the life of Swami Lakshmanananda, who was killed along with four others in Kandhamal district on Saturday.

Mr. Majhi told journalists that he and several legislators were of the view that their party should pull out of the government and extend support to it from outside.

Meeting

In the evening, senior party leaders held a closed door meeting to resolve the crisis. The leaders decided that the party would not pull out of the government.

The meeting decided that a party delegation would meet the Chief Minister on Thursday and demand immediate arrest of the killers of the Swami.

A senior BJP leader said the delegation would also urge Mr. Patnaik strict enforcement of the Orissa Freedom of Religions Act, which deals with conversion.

Disruption in House

Meanwhile, the Assembly proceedings were disrupted by the Congress and other Opposition parties throughout the day.

The Opposition demanded that the alliance government step down for its “failure to contain violence” in Kandhamal district.

The Congress also held a meeting of its leaders. Among others who attended the meeting were Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal, the former Union Ministers Jagdish Tytler and Pawan Singh Ghatowar, and member of Parliament Rebelo Merbelo.

The Orissa State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) criticised Mr. Patnaik for claiming that secular credentials of his government were well established.

Secretary of the CPI(M) State Committee Janardan Pati demanded that the BJD snap ties with the BJP, whose supporting organisations were “attacking those belonging to minority communities.”

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