BJP leader quit OCA panel, Jaitley cancels Cuttack tour

Bhubaneswar: With anger brewing across Odisha against participation of Pakistani players in the Women Cricket World Cup matches in Cuttack, BJP leader K V Singhdeo on Tuesday resigned from the Organising Committee of the event.

Interestingly, BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley has skipped his visit to the state.

Singhdeo was yesterday named by the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) as one of the seven members of the Organising Committee formed for successful conduct of the matches at Cuttack. He was taken as a member of the OC in the capacity of the president of Odisha Basketball Association.

"I have already requested OCA secretary to delete my name from the organising committee. I was not earlier informed about my membership in the OC," Singhdeo told reporters.

Supporting the Sangh Parivar decision to oppose Pakistani players participation in view of beheading of Indian jawans across LOC, Singhdeo, also leader of the BJP egislature Party in the assembly said, "For me country is first, then comes sports."

However, another senior BJP leader and former minister in the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet, Samir Dey did not comment on the issue. "I will not speak in this regard today," Dey said.

Dey has been taken as a member of the Organising Committee in his capacity as president of Odisha Olympic Association.

Meanwhile, senior leader BJP and MP Arun Jaitley cancelled his visit to Cuttack city tomorrow, Dey said.

Jaitely was scheduled to attend a function at Cuttack on occasion of Netaji Birth anniversary.

"It is good that Jaitley is avoiding visit to Cuttack now as the Sangh Parivar has been staging protest rallies opposing participation of Pakistani players in the World Cup," said a senior BJP leader requesting not to be named.

Jaitely was one of the vice-presidents of the BCCI`s Working Committee which has decided to allow Pakistani players to take part in the tournament.

While slamming Sangh Parivar`s protest, ruling BJD MLA from Cuttack-Barabati Debasis Samantray had yesterday said, "If BJP is opposed to the match involving Pakistani players, how their leader Arun Jaitley allowed it as a member of the BCCI committee."

Therefore, party sources said, apprehending any embarrassing situation on the matter, Jaitley decided to cancel his visit to Odisha.

However, party leaders claimed that Jaitely cancelled his visit in view of BJP`s presidential elections at Delhi.

Meanwhile, BJP as a political party, has also hit the streets by staging demonstrations opposing Pakistani players participation in the event. "We will not allow Pakistani players to put their feet on Odisha soil," BJP`s state vice-president Ashok Sahu said.

Sangh Parivar outfits like Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagaran Samukshya and ABVP have already announced their decision to oppose Pakistani players from the airport itself.

"Our activists will not hesitate to dig play ground at Barabati Stadium where Pakistan players are likely to play," said ABVP leader Chinmay Kumar Acharya.