No attempt made to organise a revolt, says dissident leader Mohapatra

An attempt by a group of dissident legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha on Tuesday to engineer a split in the party seems to have suffered a blow, at least for the time being, with over 80 legislators on Wednesday putting in their signature expressing their support to Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik.

Even though Mr. Patnaik was yet to return to the State cutting short his official trip to the U.K., the Ministers and legislators supporting him converged at his residence, Naveen Nivas, here during the day to express their support to him.

The Ministers and legislators gathered at Naveen Nivas on Tuesday night itself when 30 legislators and three Ministers were busy in a meeting at the residence of party's Rajya Sabha member and dissident leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra, who had been sidelined in the party organisation in the past few months.

“No threat to party”

At the end of a meeting of legislators at Naveen Nivas on Wednesday afternoon, senior party leader and Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai said there was no threat to the party and all the legislators were solidly behind Mr. Patnaik.

While senior party legislator Pravat Tripathy told journalists that a section of the legislators who tried to engineer a split had badly failed in their attempt, many others demanded action against the dissidents.

Mr. Mohapatra held a press conference at a city hotel earlier in the day where he clarified that no attempt was made to organise a revolt against Mr. Patnaik.

He, however, admitted that the Ministers and legislators who met him at his residence on Tuesday were of the view that the party organisation was not being run properly. No action was being taken against those indulging in indiscipline in the party in the past two-and-half years, he said.

Of the three Ministers and 30 legislators who met him at his residence, many had come on his invitation and some on their own. Thirteen other legislators who wanted to come to his house stayed away due to the presence of journalists outside his house, he claimed.

Asked whether he was apprehending suspension from the party for organising such a meeting when Mr. Patnaik was away in London, he said, “who can take action against me?”

Disciplinary panel yet to be set up

The party's executive body, which was supposed to meet once in every six months had not met in the past two-and-half years and the party was yet to have a disciplinary committee. Any action against anyone would have to be ratified by the party executive body, he said.