With the deadline for release of abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka coming to an end at 5pm today, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has appealed to the Maoists to release him "immediately".
"I appeal to the Maoists who are holding this young MLA to release him safe...release him immediately in good health and unharmed," Patnaik told reporters in New Delhi.
He reiterated that the state government has already initiated the process for facilitating the bail for some of the detainees that the Maoists have demanded amongst the people that have announced, he said.
The chief minister, who visited his family recently in Koraput, said said the family members as well as the government was "very distressed" and anxious about the MLA.
Patnaik's appeal comes even as the state government had yesterday said that if the release of the tribal MLA takes place by 5pm on Wednesday, the Government will seriously consider withdrawal of prosecution in suitable cases.
Patnaik said that Hikaka has spoken to chief secretary B K Patnaik and Koraput district collector J S Ramachandra yesterday and informed them that he was in good health.
There was also a telephonic conversation between ruling BJD MP from Koraput, Jayaram Pangi and Hikaka.