Abduction of MLA Jhina Hikaka: Whither are We?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“The general public of Koraput District are facing numerous socio-economic hardships due to liquor trade and also dying premature due to consumotion of liquor. So there should be total prohibition in this scheduled District for the improvement and all round development of the masses as well as locality”.

Thus had written Jhina Hikaka, MLE from Laxmipur to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter he had coauthored with other elected representatives of Koraput District and were he to attend the Assembly, he was to stress on this in his debate. This was not acceptable to his party, the ruling party.

In this letter, he had also stressed on preservation of the eco-system of the hill ranges of Mali and Deomali. When this was also not palatable to the ruling party, his participation in the Assembly might possibly have embarassed the government were he to make a mention of this matter.

The letter had also stressed on stoppage of state terror perpitrated on innocent people in the guise of hounding left ultras just to subject the people to waves of intimidation so that they remain too panicked to open their mouths against illadministration. Had he participated in Assembly proceedings, there was possibility of this matter gushing out into debates. That could have embarassed the government.

“We further request you to undertake steps to curtail PC (percentage) to government officials in contract works”, the letter underlined. This is how the letter not only stressed on end of a wrong practice, but also exposed how development projects are being looted by contractors in nexus with authorites as work orders are being placed with the contractors by officials pocketing portions of their profit by means of percentage. This matter could have embarassed the government had Hikaka been present in the Assembly to participate in debates.

Another point stressed in the letter is anathema to Naveen Patnaik’s administration as it prods the Chief Miniter into action for release of the members of Chasi Mulia Sangh, imlicated in false cases by the police and wrongfully kept in jails even after competent courts have acquitted them. Had Hekaka got the opportunity, he could have raised this point to the embarrassment of the CM in real sense.

Is it, hence, possible that his alleged abduction is engineered by the ruling party to prempt any debate on these points in the ongoing session?

Question may arise as to why he alone has been picked up – if at all the ruling party has engineered it – when two other MLAs, Rabi Narayan Nanda of Joypore and Raghuram Podal of Koraput, who are also competent to raise the issue in the Assembly, had also subscribed the letter?

The possible answer lies in the distingishability of Hikaka from others of BJD, as it is he, who alone is close to Chasi Mulia Sangh to the extent of being the factor of BJD’s alliance with it in the Panchayat polls that has, on the basis of this alliance only, given the ruling party the Chair of the Koraput Zilla Parisad.

Whither really are we?

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