Dharmendra Repeats ‘Shashikala Syndrome’ Barb; BJD Charges Him Of ‘Doublespeak’

Bhubaneswar: Union Education Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan here on Monday came out in support of his party colleague and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi and denounced the alleged orchestrated attacks on her while discharging duties in her constituency.

“There is nothing more heinous than the ruling party, riding on the force of numbers, threatening and humiliating the Opposition and everyone, who disagrees with it. More so, when these are orchestrated by the administrative officers,” he said.

The Union Minister’s statements came quick on the heels of Aparajita accusing the state government of orchestrating attacks on her through Mission Shakti members.

Also Read: Aparajita Sarangi Says Mission Shakti Members Being Used To Attack Her, Reminds Odisha CM Of ‘Rajdharma’

Drawing parallels with the erstwhile Jayalalithaa regime in Tamil Nadu, Dharmendra reiterated that ‘Shashikala syndrome’ is plaguing the ruling BJD dispensation, meaning thereby that the government is being run by proxy.

While requesting the administrative officers to refrain from such acts, he said that the British officers, who ruled India, exhibited similar arrogance. “I have known Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik since 1998 when he was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. As much as I know him, Naveen babu should not support the ongoing undemocratic activities. As a leader of the Opposition party, I expect him not to encourage these activities,” he said.

Dharmendra said Odisha should allow democracy to flourish through discussion and criticism and opposition at the political level. “The administrative officers are in particularly being manipulated and used as pawns and, therefore, on behalf of 4.5 crore Odias, I would request them to refrain from such undemocratic and unlawful activities,” he added.

Later addressing the media, BJD Rajya Sabha member Sasmit Patra said that his party does not believe in any violence or obstruction in public life. “The BJD would have been the first to condemn if any untoward incident had happened,” he said.

Given an example, Sasmit said that the ruling party had immediately suspended Chilika MLA Prasanta Jagdev when he assaulted BJP’s Niranjan Sethi on September 8, 2021. “Jagdev was immediately suspended from the party by CM and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. He was subsequently expelled because the party president does not believe in hooliganism and goondaism. The same Jagdev, however, is being garlanded and is ready to join the BJP due to blessings and regular meetings with Dharmendra Pradhan. What example are you setting for the people of Odisha?” he asked, adding that all talks around democracy is mere smokescreen.


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