‘Maoists would release audio tape over resignation`

Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka said the ultras are likely to release a fresh audio message which could clear the air over his possible resignation as a legislator.

Bhubaneswar/Koraput: Three days after being freed by Maoists, Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka on Sunday said the ultras are likely to release a fresh audio message which could clear the air over his possible resignation as a legislator.

"A new audio tape is likely to be released by the Maoists shortly. It will remove all confusion relating to my resignation. Everything will be clear," the 37-year-old ruling BJD MLA from Laxmipur, said.

The tribal legislator, who was abducted by Maoists in the wee hours of March 24 in Koraput district, was set free on April 26 at Balipeta in Narayanpatna area of the district on the condition that he would resign as a member of the state Assembly within 15 days.

Hikaka, who has been side-stepping the question of quitting as an MLA ever since he was released by Maoists, said he would be visiting the state capital shortly and the future course of action would be known soon.

Before freeing Hikaka, Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) had claimed in an audio message that the tribal leader had given an undertaking at their praja court that he would resign as a legislator and also cut ties with BJD.

Hikaka said he had also been consulting with the people of his constituency on the course of action.

While Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik is
tight-lipped on the question of Hikaka quitting as MLA, leaders cutting across political parties were against any move by the tribal legislator to resign.

"The Maoists should reconsider their condition for Hikaka`s resignation. The first-time MLA should be allowed to complete his full five-year term and work for the people of his constituency," said a senior BJD leader.

The demand by Maoists for resignation of Hikaka is seen as a move to enable senior leaders of Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), including its president Nachika Linga, to enter into electoral politics.

However, as Linga has been on the run since 2009, the ultras seem to be examining other CMAS leaders in Narayanpatna area of Koraput district.
As uncertainty persisted over Hikaka`s fate, senior BJD leaders were of the view that resignation under pressure would be unacceptable.

"The Assembly Speaker had in a ruling given earlier categorically said resignation tendered under pressure was not accepted," BJD leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra said.

If Hikaka resigns from the state Assembly, it should not be accepted by the Speaker, Mohapatra said, citing an earlier ruling.

Earlier, an independent MLA from Cuttack district had put in his papers. However, it was not accepted as the Speaker felt the action was due to pressure from some external force.