The Biju Janata Dal’s Rajya Sabha member, Pyarimohan Mohapatra, was expelled on Friday. He was suspended from the party for allegedly attempting to oust Naveen Patnaik as Chief Minister on May 29.
The decision to expel Mr. Mohapatra and another senior leader, Jagneswar, for anti-party activities was made at the State executive committee meeting of the party, chaired by Mr. Patnaik.
Mr. Mohapatra, a retired bureaucrat, had been challenging Mr. Patnaik’s leadership for quite some time, especially after he launched the Odisha Janmorcha and started a campaign for restoring inner-party democracy in the party. He gained prominence as Mr. Patnaik’s main adviser and the party’s election manager.
The expulsion came ahead of the Janmorcha’s second Kranti Samavesh rally to be held at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district. At the first rally of the outfit held here on October 28, Mr. Mohapatra, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha twice, lashed out at Mr. Patnaik for running the party “undemocratically” and depending heavily on the bureaucracy.
An unfazed Mr. Mohapatra told journalists that he expected the action and would challenge his removal.
More than 20 lakh BJD members were unhappy, he said, as they were neglected by the party. Mr. Patnaik had dropped three Ministers from the Cabinet while suspending Mr. Mohapatra and two other legislators for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to dethrone him when he was away in the U.K.