BJD MLAs, MPs, ministers hold meeting to counter Mohapatra
Bhubaneswar: With Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra likely to disclose something about Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday, panicked BJD leaders met here on Sunday to formulate a strategy to counter any new move by the suspended BJD leader.
The ruling party leaders comprising MLAs, MPs, ministers and corporators assembled at Naveen Niwas this evening and attended a party hosted by the CM, sources said.
The gathering at Patnaik's residence was significant in the wake of a rumour that some of the party MLAs, who two days ago supported the chief minister, had meanwhile switched over to the Mohapatra camp, they said.
Around 40 of the 104 BJD MLAs, a dozen ministers and some MPs were present at Patnaik's party while many dissident members were not seen at the Naveen Niwas lawn.
"Special messengers were sent to the MLA Colony to ensure that all legislators present in the state capital attend the chief minister's party," a senior MLA said.
Asked about the party, Patnaik said, "We are here on Sunday evening at Naveen Niwas...A small reception for chairpersons of various corporations, MLAs, MPs who are in the city. We discussed about development and welfare works of the government and our discussion with DFID at London."
"We did not discuss those kind of matters here. It is a gathering of the Biju Parivar," Patnaik said replying a question on possible ministry expansion as four positions were vacant after recent dismissal of two ministers.
Meanwhile, Mohapatra who returned here after attending a family function Mumbai, said he would speak to the media tomorrow. "The MP is likely to reveal something newsworthy," said an aide of Mohapatra.
The Chief Minister had yesterday said that Mohapatra and company had attempted a midnight coup to topple his government when he was away in a foreign country for a week.
"When I was away for a week on state government's work to UK, a mid-night operation took place. It was like a thief in the night who strike at someone's house when residents are away," Patnaik narrated the manner in which a failed coup was attempted to topple his government.
"Really, what can I say, 'beiman' (betrayer) or 'beimani' (betrayal)", an angry chief minister said adding it was "very very sad".
Mohapatra, who claimed to be the architect of the ruling BJD, is likely to respond to Patnaik's statement of drawing a parallel between his action with that of a thief.