Bhubaneswar: A day after reports indicated that all is not well within the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party in Odisha, the man at the centre of the “alleged revolt” has denied any such dissidence.
Senior party leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra said BJD leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik continues to be their leader.
He denied speculation that he planned to dethrone Patnaik.
While stating that there was no dissidence in the party, Mohapatra did say that there were grievances because the party organisation was not being looked after properly.
He said party members who had met him said they were unhappy because bureaucrats were not listening to them. He also said some ministers had told him that their secretaries were ignoring them.
Mohapatra, 72, did not name Patnaik but said people with vested interests were trying to create indiscipline in the party and were not being checked despite repeated reminders.
"For one-and-a-half years I have been pointing out indiscipline in the party but no action was taken," he said.
Meanwhile, top party MP Jay Panda also rubbished as mere speculation reports of a revolt.
Panda said, “There is no threat as is being speculated. I want to reiterate that there is no threat to the Naveen Patnaik-led government in the state.”
The trouble started after it was reported that at least 25 BJD MLAs including four senior ministers Tuesday night met at Mohapatra’s Bhubaneswar residence in the absence of Naveen Patnaik, who is in the United Kingdom.
It was being speculated that the BJD was heading for a possible split as a powerful section within the party had fallen out with the CM.
Panda clarified on the issue saying, “The meeting at Pyari Mohan Mohapatra’s residence had nothing to do with the Naveen Patnaik government and it was called to discuss a statewide bandh called by the BJD to protest fuel price hike in the days to come.”
The clarification from the BJD MP came in the wake of reports that the Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha is trying to form a “breakaway government” and is due to meet the Governor today to stake claim to form the government.
The four ministers who attended the meeting presided by Mohapatra included Women Child Development Minister Anjali Behera, Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra, Minister of Food, Civil supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sarada Prasad Naik, and Minister for Commerce and Transport Sanjeev Sahoo.
Patnaik is currently in the UK and is scheduled to return on June 3. Despite the reported trouble in his party, he is not expected to cut short his UK trip and return home early.
Reports of a rift widening between Patnaik and Mohapatra have been doing the rounds for quite some time now.