Bhubaneswar: Amid pressure from Opposition parties over his controversial statement on Pipili gang-rape verdict, Pradeep Maharathy finally resigned as the Agriculture Minister today. He tendered his resignation to the chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Maharathy said he took such decision on moral ground in order to protect his party from bearing further pressure. “I have high regard for my party and chief minister Naveen Patnaik. I resigned on moral ground to avoid further pressure on the party”, Maharathy told press persons, while ruling out any pressure on him to quit the post.
Maharathy landed in the centre of controversy and invited ire from Opposition parties ever since he hailed the acquittal of the accused in the sensational Pipili gang rape and murder case. After a local court acquitted the accused siblings in the case, Maharathy had hailed the acquittal and said that victim got justice by saying that truth has prevailed finally.
The statement had invited sharp criticism from the BJP and Congress. The activists of the both the parties had created outrage in the Capital city several times, demanding his ouster from the State Cabinet.
Women activists of BJP and Congress had also faced off with police in separate occasions while trying to storm into the residence of chief Minister, alleging his silence over the matter. The Congress activists had also hurled eggs and tomatoes at the official residence of Maharathy during their demonstration earlier.
Pressure on the chief minister mounted further after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue in a public rally in Baripada yesterday.