BHUBANESWAR: In a rare display of political modesty, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday came out of his residence to meet the BJP MLAs, who were sitting on a dharna outside Naveen Niwas, and invited them for talks.
The BJP MLAs took out a three-km padayatra from the state assembly to Naveen Niwas, seeking his intervention in the purchase of unsold paddy lying in market yards.
The chief minister has been attending the assembly mostly thorough video-conference owing to Covid-19, prompting the opposition MLAs to accuse him of “missing” from the ongoing budget session. On their way, BJP members kept raising slogans questioning Naveen’s “absence” from the assembly.
To their utter surprise, Naveen, shielded from the scorching heat with the help of an umbrella held by an aide, came to the MLAs barely half an hour after they sat on a dharna around 1.30pm. After listening patiently to their grievances, he invited them to come inside. The MLAs followed him and sat under a tree on his residential premises.
The BJP members got a taste of Odia hospitality at Naveen’s house. Snehangini Chhuria, president of BJD Mahila Morcha, the regional party’s women’s wing, was seen applying tilaks on the forehead of the MLAs. Petals were also showered on them.
“We welcome the CM’s gesture. However, a lasting solution to the farmers’ problems is what we are looking for. Hopefully, that will be done,” leader of opposition Pradipta Naik, who led the protesting MLAs, said