BJD on Fire Naveen Perplexed
Biju Janata Dal ( BJD) is on fire again. Exchange of brash statements by its leaders has engendered a shattering situation in the party, which is causing headache for the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The catastrophic situation cropped up in the ruling party on March 28 when Member of Parliament and one of the stalwarts of the party Baijyant Jay Panda, scribed an article in The Samaj, a premier Odiya daily newspaper, which was followed by a good number of Twitter posts regarding malfunctioning of the party. Shri Panda, in his article, attempted to put a caveat for BJD functionaries regarding their conduct and advised them “to introspect” concerning their contributory roles in the party’s disaster in the last three -tiered Panchayat polls. Most of the heavyweights of the party consider Panda’s statement a virtual challenge to the BJD leadership and critics say that by taking such a calculated risk, Jay Panda is paving his way towards BJP. However, Shri Panda writes on Twitter that some vested interest persons in BJD are misrepresenting his views and creating a confusion thereon. He has also called on the party chief Naveen Patnaik to take a strong and effective action for reviving the strength of BJD by identifying those who are the real challenges in the party. He also opined that the small fledglings are controlling the party keeping the senior leaders out of the orbit.
Jay Panda’s article and Twitter posts have shaped a political tumult inside BJD. Senior party leaders, Tathagat Satpathy, Debasish Samantaray and Amar Prasad Satpathy, are opposed to this view of Shri Panda. Tathagat Satpathy came to vehemence for opposing Panda through his Twitter posts but one day after, both the leaders came to public sight while taking a selfi in New Delhi. Coincidentally, such political commotion blew up in the party just a week after the death of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, the mentor and one of the founders of BJD, who suffered expulsion from the party on allegation of sabotage with top leadership of the party, Naveen Patnaik.
Naveen Patnaik has not expressed his opinion on the views expressed by Shri Panda in his article. It is not unusual on the part of the Chief Minister to remain mum on this issue, as he purposefully does in each and every time when any traumatic situation arises. However, the crack inside the party has come to light not only through the statements of Baijayanta Jay Panda but also through the comments of Dr. Damodar Rout on Shri Panda’s article. Dr. Rout, who is known for his wit on political matters of the party, supported the views of Shri Panda and virtually concurred with him that there is difference in the party. Political analysts say that such an article, written by Shri Panda, may not be acceptable to BJD chief and therefore Tathagatha Satpathy may be given the responsibility of parliamentary party leader of BJD. In another incident, it was seen that Shri Panda was the only BJD M.P. who visited the house of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra to attend his funeral. Except him, none of the party MPs and MLAs did ever visit to pay last tribute to Mohapatra after his death. Even Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not attend the funeral of the late Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, his mentor.
It is reported that a number of BJD members have joined BJP during last two months. It shows the upsurge of BJP in the state. Good performance in the last Panchayat polls is the cause of this upsurge, which has ignited the party workers. It is noticeable that the upcoming National Executive Meet of BJP in Bhubaneswar will boost the enthusiasm of party members in the state. On the other hand, it seems that the members of BJD are roaming in utter confusion regarding the happenings in the party. While this intra-party turmoil is continuing, political quarters are waiting as to what the party chief Naveen Patnaik would do to save the image of the party as well as his own.
By Debasis Tripathy from bhubaneswar