Hindu leader’s murder divides Orissa BJPAugust 28th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, Aug 28 (IANS) The killing of a Hindu leader and four of his associates has divided the Bharatiya Janata Party in Orissa with a section of its leaders saying they want to withdraw support from the state government. The murder has led to wideapread rioting in the state, with mobs targeting Christians.BJP is a coalition partner of the government headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is the president of the coalition leader Biju Janata Dal.
“Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was attacked several times in the past and security cover was sought for him. The government did not respond to that. As a result of which he was killed,” Brundaban Majhi, a BJP lawmaker, told IANS Thursday.
“We could not save his life. It is the failure of the government of which we are a part. We do not want to remain in such a government.
“I have offered to resign. I have written to the leader of our party to pull out from the government and extent support from outside,” he said.
Party insiders said that at least 15 BJP legislators, including three ministers, have voiced their anger and expressed to their party leader that they want to tender their resignations if the party does not withdraw support from the government.
BJP state president Suresh Pujari said he has received the letter from Majhi.
In the 147-member state assembly, the BJD-BJP combine has 93 members of whom 32 lawmakers are from the BJP.
The state has been on the boil since the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and four others Saturday evening by suspected Maoist guerrillas at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district.
At least 11 people were killed after communal clashes broke out different part of the state although non-official sources put the number of deaths at 17.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the police have registered at least 70 cases in various police stations related to the communal violence and 54 people have been arrested.
The situation worsened as the riots spread to other areas with stray incidents of violence being reported overnight in the districts of Kandhamal, Kendrapada and Bolangir.