Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 28:

A day after engaging in tweet volleys with fellow parliamentarian Tathagata Satpathy, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant Panda has expressed his angst over the state of affairs within the party through his op-ed (opposite editorial) published in a leading vernacular daily originating from Odisha.

Panda has trained guns on the party supremo Naveen Patnaik for not being proactive, prevalence of widespread corruption and harbouring influential persons committing criminal acts, especially in the current regime of the 17-year BJD rule in the state.

“In this period that not just the government but the party too has been run by bureaucrats have been growing louder,” Panda wrote.

“If we honestly introspect, we must acknowledge that allegations about the political environment in 1997, including widespread corruption and sheltering of powerful people committing criminal acts, are again being alleged about Odisha of the past three years,” he expressed.

Ostensibly pointing towards the withdrawal of three big ticket investments from the state in the recent past, Panda said: “Naveen participated in industry events to hardsell Odisha during his first tenure as Chief Minister which changed the perception that Odisha was a turnaround story. Looking at various socio-economic indices over the past 17 years, there can be no denying that Odisha has indeed come a long way. But there can and will be debate as to how much more could have been achieved, especially with regard to investment and jobs.”

The write-up titled ‘BJD: Time for introspection’ by the media-savvy leader has left the party leaders fuming. This comes a day after Panda’s twitter spat with Tathagata Satpathy over series of tweets where the latter alleged involvement of a party MP to engineer split in the party.

The Kendrapara MP narrated the journey in floating the party and the struggles thereafter to steady the ship. The senior leader alleged that the founding members who worked in tandem with the founder president no longer enjoy the privilege rather they have been taken over by ‘opportunists’.

“Many key positions are no longer held by people who struggled for the party, who might have given honest feedback, but rather by opportunists from various fields, including some who had worked against BJD,” he expressed.

The parliamentarian concluded his piece with a token of advice for a course correction, clearly pointing towards the BJP’s unprecedented electoral success in Assembly and local body polls in various states.

“Other parties are gaining ground because of their dynamic new leadership, and unless the BJD’s founder urgently deals with the issues, the party will struggle to face these challenges,” he summed up.

The print article, as anticipated, has not gone down well within the party. Though the chief was yet to react to the development, several party leaders had a word or two for him.

“I have gone through the article. In my opinion, it was not proper to put party issues out in the open through media. If he realized that something was wrong in the party, he could have taken up the issue at party forum or approached party president or put forth his grievances through written communiqué,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.

Unfazed by the criticism, Panda stuck to his stance and replied to a query on Twitter:

On the other hand, Deb hinted at possible action against Panda.