New Delhi:  The Congress on Saturday said the Odisha government was capable of handling the situation arising out of the kidnapping of a ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator, though the Central Government has provided help whenever needed.

Reacting to the reports of Maoists kidnapping BJD lawmaker Jhina Hikaka, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the incident is a matter of "serious concern".

"But the state government is competent to handle the situation and it comes under the state's responsibility," Singhvi said.

"However, the centre has been providing all necessary help whenever the state has asked for it," he added.
Maoists in Odisha kidnapped the ruling party legislator early on Saturday, even as talks continued with the rebels for the release of two Italians abducted 10 days ago.

Hikaka, 37, was abducted after midnight by a 100-150 strong group of Maoists from a hilly area between Koraput and Laxmipur, about 500 km from Bhubaneswar.

The rebels, however, released the driver of the vehicle and a bodyguard accompanying the lawmaker. The abduction came as three state officials continued their talks with two mediators named by the Maoists for the negotiations for release of the Italians.

(Agencies)