The assailant fled after Mohanty (57) fell down from his scooter, police said, adding that two more persons might be involved in the crime.
The minister was rushed to the district headquarter hospital and then shifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar.The incident sent shockwaves in the tourist hub even as hundreds of people thronged the hospital. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the incident and asked the police to take strong action against the culprits.
The police in the meanwhile launched a manhunt by sealing all exit points. “We are trying to nab the culprits and to ascertain the motive behind the crime,” Puri superintendent of police Anup Sahu said.
A BJD leader said the attack on Mohanty – who also holds the charge of culture and tourism and planning and coordination departments – might have political angle to it.This was the second attack on Mohanty in the last two years.
On January 30, 2012, an unidentified man had assaulted him with iron rods when he was addressing a meeting in a village.
Mohanty represents Puri constituency in the Odisha assembly.