Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 7:
Trouble continued to simmer today in Odisha’s ruling BJD over the loss of two seats in the recent bypolls held in three ULBs of the state.
After a prolonged ugly spat between BJD Barabati MLA Debashish Samantaray, Choudwar MLA Pravat Biswal and party Vice President Damodar Rout; an editorial written by MP Tathagata Satpathy yesterday in Odia daily ‘Dharitri’ sparked a fresh round of trouble for the party.
Following the editorial titled ‘Warning Bell’, which opined that conscious urban voters have started turning away from the party, Debashish Samantaray – under whose supervision BJD lost the CMC bypoll– today issued a statement in public.
“The elections get competitive at times. The winning margin for the winning party is very low. There was a strong anti-incumbency factor against our former mayor. There were perhaps some dissidents inside the party as well. The ward election depends on the voters of the ward. The people here voted based on sentiment. It obviously does not give a message that BJD is trailing in urban areas everywhere,” said Debashish.
Party spokesperson Pratap Deb also questioned if Tathagata wrote the editorial in capacity as a BJD MP or an editor.
“The MP in question is also the editor of a newspaper. You should go and ask him if he wrote the editorial as an editor or as a Biju Janata Dal MP,” said Deb speaking to reporters today.
BJD Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab – who recently lamented party chief Naveen’s whip that denied party leaders to make comments in public — today defended Tathagata openly.
“The editor and the MP are the same person. Their thought process cannot be different. The article serves as a warning and a reminder to the party to get its act together. I see nothing wrong in it,” said Mahtab.
On the face of growing controversy, Tathagata also issued a statement today where he defended his editorial in rather strong words.
“The people of the state are voting for Naveen Patnaik. We, the followers, are reaping the benefits of it. It is also possible that some of us are even misusing it,” said Tathagata without backing down.
Notably, the editorial he wrote yesterday not only said that urban voters are turning away from BJD, but also, it said that some of the steps taken by the party’s second, third and grass-root level leaders are not being well-received by the masses.
It went on to add that the ego, careless attitude and open cases of corruption by some of the MLAs are pushing Naveen’s clean image to a backseat. The recent results should serve as a warning to the party and complacency for the only win in Umerkote would push the party towards a darker future, it added.