Bhubaneswar: The cold war between Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Baijayant Panda, an MP from his party, the BJD, which had become a matter of fanciful speculation in state politics came to an end this evening by party vice-president Surjya Narayan Patro in a Press release announcing Panda’s suspension from primary membership of the party.
Panda was suspended from the BJD’s primary membership with immediate effect by party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on disciplinary ground.
The BJD MP had triggered a political storm in the State by openly lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi publishing articles on national media and questioning the leadership of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Panda triggered a storm in the party last week after he accused the chief minister’s private secretary of “interfering in party affairs and unconstitutionally indulging in politics”. Allegations were mounting that he was disregarding party workers, following which Patnaik had appointed minister Usha Devi and senior leader Pramilla Mallick to probe the allegations against Baijayant Panda, setting the tone for disciplinary action against the rebel MP.
Though Patnaik retorted by saying his detractors attack his office “when they have no other issues”, he had kept mum over the possible action on Panda waiting for the report card of the two leaders.
The move was taken on the basis of the reports of the party’s observers for Kendrapada and Cuttack districts Pramila Mallick and Usha Devi, respectively, who had been asked by Patnaik to probe the charges of anti-party activities against Panda by party leaders and workers of the Kendrapada Parliamentary constituency.
The BJD release said, Panda “has been directly and indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening BJD, whether it is the Parliament, State, constituency or media space”. No “opportunity” was missed by Panda “to criticise the BJD and eulogise the opposition”. His claims of being a founder member of the BJD are “totally false”.
Panda’s conduct during the PRI elections in which he did not campaign for the party candidates even in his own constituency and, instead, indulged in anti-party activities supporting opposition candidates was totally against the interests of the BJD, the release said.
The release revealed that Patnaik didn’t recommend Baijayant for the post of Chairman of Standing Committee on Finance in Lok Sabha despite Panda’s plea that he could make it to the post by lobbying.