Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
In a rare display of courage, dissenting voices in Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal today continued to defy party Supremo Naveen Patnaik’s whip that allows only spokespersons to interact with the media on various issues.
A day after BJD Vice President and Excise Minister Damodar Rout feigned ignorance about any such orders being issued by Naveen and questioned the legitimacy of the statement made by party Spokesperson Shashi Bhusan Behera made on Tuesday on this regard, Jagatsinghpur BJD President Bishnu Charan Das and Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Parida today interacted with the media out of turn and spoke up against party lines.
While Bishnu Charan Das joined scores of other leaders including archrival Damodar Rout, MPs Bhartruhari Mahtab, Tathagata Satpathy and Nagendra Pradhan in suggesting Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FS &CW) Minister Sanjay Das Burma a resignation indirectly, Baishnab Parida was vocally critic about the capability of BJD spokespersons to interpret Naveen’s orders.
“I faced a similar situation when I was the School and Mass Education Minister. I was accused of getting my son score higher marks in his HSC papers. I resigned over this allegation as I felt there was a moral obligation to do so. Probably, Das Burma doesn’t want to do so,” said Das speaking to reporters today.
On the other hand, MP Parida took a dig at the party spokespersons over the diktat issue.
“What is the guarantee that the spokespersons would be able to represent the facts correctly before the public? At times, they too make mistakes that can court controversy for the party,” said Parida.
“Nobody has issued any diktat. Those who are talking about it are dishonest. The incident allegedly happened after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Party spokespersons don’t attend cabinet meetings of Odisha Government. How would they know what transpired there,” Excise Minister Damodar Rout had questioned yesterday.
BJD Spokesperson Pratap Jena, however, put up a brave face and warned action against erring leaders.
“If any MLA, minister or MP makes any statement out of turn even after the order of the leader of the party, the party would definitely look into it. The leader of the party would also look into it and action would be taken against them,” said Jena speaking to reporters today.