The BJP leaders on Friday filed a complaint before the police against use of red beacon on the vehicle of Manohar Randhari, the BJD MLA of Nabarangpur in Odisha and the chairman of the Nabarangpur District Planning Committee (DPC).
A team of the Nabarangpur district BJP unit lodged a complaint at the Nabarangpur Town police station alleging that the MLA was illegally using red beacon on his vehicle. According to them, Mr Randhari was not entitled to its use and it was violation of a Supreme Court directive as well as past notification of the Odisha government.
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr Randhari alleged that the complaint by the BJP was a publicity stunt. “The launch of ‘Jan Kalyan Yatra’ by the BJP from Chandahandi of Nabarangpur district was a flop show. So, the local BJP leaders have resorted to this to get some cheap publicity,” he said.
According to him, the post of DPC chairman has been given the rank of Minister of State as per an amendment of the Odisha Office of Profit Act, 1961, approved by the State Cabinet. “So, I am using whatever government has entitled me to,” he added.
In January this year, Mr Randhari along with eight other MLAs had been appointed DPCs for different districts in Odisha.
But Nabarangpur district BJP general secretary Mrutyunjay Das said the State government may have given this rank to DPC chairpersons, but they are not real State Ministers who are entitled to use red beacons.
Nabarangpur BJP Yuvamorcha president Manas Tripathy alleged that with the use of red light, siren and armed guards, Mr Randhari had started to create fear psychosis among ignorant tribals and Dalits living in rural pockets of the district. BJP leaders alleged that Mr Randhari was using the vehicle inside Nabarangpur district and outside too.
Following a Supreme Court verdict, the State Commerce and Transport department had notified in March 2014 declaring list of VIPs who fall under the category of constitutional authorities and can use red beacons on their vehicles. As per the notification, 10 categories of VIPs can use red lights. While seven top categories can use it with flashers, three others have to stick to it without flashers.
The top seven categories include Governor, Chief Minister, Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, Speaker of the State Assembly, Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition and Judges of the High Court.
The three categories of constitutional authorities that cannot use flashers with their red light are Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.