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Odisha: Oppn demands education minister's removal over ZP member's death
Bhubaneswar, Sep 28 - The main opposition parties in Odisha -- the BJP and the Congress -- staged protest on Wednesday demanding removal of School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash from the Cabinet over the death of BJD zilla parishad (ZP) member Dharmendra Sahoo.
Sahoo, a zilla parishad member from Puri district, allegedly commited suicide at his residence here on September 24. The 48-year-old politician represented the ZP zone No. 11 under Gop, which falls under the Assembly constituency of Dash.
Odisha BJP workers and leaders, including Puri district president Ashrit Pattanayak, Bramhagiri MLA Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra and party's state vice-president Pravati Parida on Wednesday blocked the Puri-Bhubaneswar national highway at Pattnaikia Chhak in Pipili over the issue. They demanded immediate removal of the minister for his alleged involvement in Sahoo's suicide.
"An viral audio clip of Sahoo proves that Dash was involved in the death of the ZP member. So, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should immediately remove him from the Cabinet," said Pattanayak.
Notably, an audio clip purportedly made by Sahoo holding the minister and six others, including his wife and father-in-law, responsible for his death went viral on social media.
The Chief Minister should immediately order Dash's arrest in the matter, demanded BJP MLA Mohapatra.
Similarly, hundreds of activists of the student wing of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee on Wednesday gathered the official residence of Dash.
Carrying posters and raising slogans, the Chattra Congress workers had a scuffle with the police while trying to barge into the minister's residence. The Congress activists even hurled eggs and tomatoes at the house.
Accusing the Chief Minister of protecting Dash, Chhatra Congress president Yasir Nawaz said: "He (Dash) has no right to continue as education minister of the state."
Earlier, a delegation of Odisha Congress had submitted a memorandum to the Bhubaneswar DCP demanding an impartial inquiry into the incident.
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