Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 25:
With senior leaders of his own party calling for his head, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Srikant Jena on Wednesday made a complete somersault, something he is adept at doing, on his scathing indictment of three-time Congress chief minister and present Assam governor JB Patnaik.
“JB Patnaik is an elderly and respectable person. I have nothing personal against him. He was the chief minister of the state for a long time and also a Central Minister. I never said he has not done anything for the state. I must say he has contributed significantly to the state,” said the man, who had castigated the former chief minister only two days ago for doing ‘nothing’ for the development of the state despite ruling the state for 15 years.
Interestingly, Jena even acknowledged the ‘contributions’ of Biju Patnaik and current chief minister Naveen Patnaik for the development of the state.
The sudden ‘change of heart’ was no doubt brought about by the vociferous reaction of Congress leaders in the state to his intemperate outburst against a senior party leader.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, PCC spokesperson Arya Kumar Jnanedra demanded stringent action against Jena for what he called his ‘anti-party’ activity.
“I have already written to the PCC chief and will also bring it to the notice of the party high command soon,” he said.
Senior party leader and former PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik had already castigated the Union minister for his remark pointing out that Odisha was the seventh in the list of poor states when JB Patnaik was chief minister.
It remains to be seen if the party high command, which acted in indecent haste in expelling senior party leader Soumya Ranjan Patnaik for alleged ‘anti-party’ activities, applies the same standard of party discipline in case of Jena.