Cracks in the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Orissa became clearly visible with the suspension of the former Minister and legislator from the Bari constituency, Debasis Nayak, on Sunday.

Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik ordered Mr. Nayak's suspension in the wake of his statements questioning Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra's role in the party organisation and remarks about the functioning of the State government.

Mr. Patnaik, however, did not take any action against Paradip legislator Damodar Rout, who had earlier said that Mr. Patnaik was taking decisions as per the advice of Mr. Mohapatra.

Curbing dissidence

The suspension of Mr. Nayak is seen as an action intended at checking the growth of dissidence within the party.

Several Ministers spoke out against the statements made by Dr. Rout and Mr. Nayak, saying that the criticism amounted to questioning the leadership of Mr. Patnaik.

Dr. Rout started speaking against the party's functioning after he was dropped from the Cabinet recently, while Mr. Nayak had apparently turned critical after he was not given a berth in the Ministry.

Mr. Nayak, who previously worked as Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister when the latter was a Central Minister, was ousted as a Minister in 2008 in the wake of a scandal which involved a woman marshal of the Assembly.