Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is now blaming saffron parties for the violence against Christians in Kandhamal giving rise to the speculation that the (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP-BJD split was not merely over seat-sharing disagreements.
During his first election rally held in Ganjam district of Orissa after the BJP-BJD split Naveen Patnaik said that Bajrang Dal was responsible for the Kandhamal violence.
Patnaik also criticised the BJP MLA's and ministers for targeting him in the state Assembly over the Kandhamal issue.
"We all know the way the BJP's sister organisation were indulging in violence in Kandhamal. My government did the best to arrest these people," Patnaik said.
Patnaik's response came immediately after BJP leader Sushma Swaraj blamed him for not arresting the killers of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati.
Swaraj at an election rally also charged that the BJP workers were harassed during the Kandhamnal violence.
"Swami Laxmanananda's killing shocked us, but what was even more shocking is the fact that we in the government sat quietly after the killing while the swami's killer's roamed free. We were feeling suffocated and many of our leaders were putting pressure on us to break the alliance," said Swaraj at an election rally.
BJP has already declared Patnaik as the enemy No. 1 in Orissa and is desperately trying to make Kandhamal an election issue.
On the other hand the BJD is claiming the BJP tried to play the Hinduvta card in Orissa but failed miserably.
Though both the parties do not admit, their reactions now indicate that Kandhamal was an issue which made the alliance uncomfortable and eventually broke the 11-year partnership.