No end in sight to BJD crisis

BHUBANESWAR NOV. 10. The Biju Janata Dal dissidents appear unlikely to succeed in their attempts to unseat the Orissa Chief Minister and party president, Naveen Patnaik, but the latter is not getting any nearer to solving the crisis either.

It is obvious that the rebel MPs and dissidents will not be able to achieve their `oust-Naveen' objective so long as Mr. Patnaik has his equations right with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the junior partner in the two-party coalition Government in the State.

But one thing is clear. The crisis prevailing in the BJD parliamentary party, following the recognition accorded to the rebel MP, Prasanna Acharya, as the party's leader in the Lok Sabha and the growing dissidence has started to tell on the Government's functioning.

Though the BJP national leadership has so far not commented on the BJD's internal matters, its State leaders have expressed the apprehension that the crisis will affect the coalition Government's image.

Mr. Patnaik's attempts to reach a compromise with the rebel MPs have not made any headway so far. Three Ministers sent by him as emissaries have not been able to resolve the crisis, despite holding several rounds of discussions with Mr. Acharya and other leaders.

The rebels are demanding that all members of the so called `Biju Parivar' (those who worked with the late Biju Patnaik) be brought back to the party.

They include expelled leaders such as the Rajya Sabha MP, Dillip Ray, the Orissa Gana Parishad president, Bijay Mohapatra, and the former Minister, Nalinikanta Mohanty.

Uniting the `Biju Parivar' could make things difficult for Mr. Patnaik and result in his isolation in the party. According to party sources, Mr. Patnaik is now thinking of expelling some of the rebel MPs.

Meanwhile, Mr. Patnaik has initiated a series of measures to contain dissidence. Apart from touring various districts, Mr. Patnaik has decided to appoint legislators as heads of public sector undertakings and cooperative institutions.

He has also announced sops for Government employees and school and college teachers.

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