Patnaik’s detractors swing into action as polls near

Ousted BJD leaders attack Odisha govt.; no united front yet

November 14, 2018 12:51 am | Updated September 26, 2023 04:08 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Odisha, BHUVANESHWAR, 04/04/2014: Baijayant Panda ,BJD candidate for Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat at Bhubaneswar, Odisha on April 04, 2014.
Photo: Kamal Narang

Odisha, BHUVANESHWAR, 04/04/2014: Baijayant Panda ,BJD candidate for Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat at Bhubaneswar, Odisha on April 04, 2014. Photo: Kamal Narang

Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik’s detractors are becoming active ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State.

Those criticising Mr. Patnaik are leaders who were recently ousted from the ruling BJD, including former Minister Damodar Rout and former Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda.

Both the politicians, during public meetings, have attacked the Naveen Patnaik government over corruption. They have, however, not shared a dais despite announcements made before some rallies.

Mr. Panda was the first among Mr. Patnaik’s detractors to visit Mr. Rout’s residence a day after the former Minister was expelled from the BJD in September this year. Mr. Panda, who was suspended from primary membership of the BJD for “anti-party” activities in January, had resigned from the party in May.

New political outfit

Although Mr. Rout has started talking about floating a new political outfit, most leaders who were earlier in the BJD have not declared their support to him. Those who have not come out in support of Mr. Rout include former Union Minister Dilip Ray and former Minister Bijoy Mohapatra. Mr. Ray and Mr. Mohapatra are dissidents in the BJP and may quit the saffron party sometime before the next polls.

Former Union Minister Braja Kishore Tripathy, who is heading the Samata Kranti Dal, is the only prominent leader who has welcomed Mr. Rout to join his party.

Mr. Panda is yet to decide which party he will join. Both the Congress and the BJP had welcomed him after he resigned from the BJD. Mr. Panda may announce his next move after the results of the ongoing Assembly polls in five States.

“Mr. Patnaik’s detractors are planning to launch a new political forum. But they can create trouble for the BJD only if they unite to launch a party and contest the coming polls by sharing seats with either the Congress or the BJP,” said political analyst Rabi Das.

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