Odisha: BJD MLA rams car into crowd, over 20 injured
At least 24 people, including seven policemen, were injured after a BJD MLA's vehicle allegedly ran over them in Odisha on Saturday. Following the incident, the BJD MLA from Chilika, Prashant Jagdev, was thrashed by a mob. "The severely injured MLA was shifted to Tangi Hospital and later to Bhubaneswar for treatment. No casualties were reported," Superintendent of Police Alekh Chandra told India Today.
Why does this story matter?
- Two-time MLA from Chilika, Jagdev, was suspended from the BJD last year for assaulting a Dalit BJP leader.
- In the past, he had been involved in numerous situations involving high-handed behavior.
- He reportedly misbehaved with a Chilika Development Authority engineer in 2020 and threatened a former Sarpanch at the Panchayat Samiti in 2018. In 2016, he threw a kerosene lantern at a female Tehsildar.
Five injured are critical: Police
According to police, some BJP workers were carrying out a procession outside Banpur Panchayat Samiti's office Saturday morning when Jagdev's reached there. As he drove toward the office, some policemen and BJP workers tried stopping him. "However, the MLA stepped on the accelerator and plowed down people...leaving at least 24 injured. Five of the injured...have been critically wounded," said IGP (Central Range) Narasingha Bhol.
BJP demands his immediate arrest
BJP leader Prithiviraj Harichandan demanded Jagdev's immediate arrest, saying politicians like him should be imprisoned for a long term. "He is a perpetual offender and has been using strong arm tactics as he was with the BJD," Hindustan Times quoted Harichandan as saying. On the other hand, Narasingha Mishra, a Congress MLA, claimed the incident demonstrated the state's worsening law and order situation.
MLA was drunk, says local
Meanwhile, a local resident named Arun Kumar Nayak alleged that Jagdev was drunk when he plowed his SUV into the crowd. "He (the MLA) definitely was intoxicated when the incident happened," he told Hindustan Times.
Another BJD MLA justifies Jagdev's action
Jitu Mitra, another BJD MLA, supported Jagdev, saying the BJP activists should not have stopped his vehicle. "He tried to steer his vehicle out of the crowd when the incident happened. It could be a case of accident," Mitra said. Meanwhile, BJD MP Dr. Sasmit Patra strongly condemned the barbaric act by the Chilika MLA. "Violence has no place in a democracy," he said.
Re-run of 2021 incident in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri
The incident involving Jagdev is being seen as a re-run of last year's Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which four farmers and a journalist were allegedly plowed down by a car driven by Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Mishra.