Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 30:
Exactly three years after the aborted midnight coup, the former strategist-in-chief turned bête noire of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Pyarimohan Mohapatra has admitted that the May 29, 2012 congregation was a strategic failure.
Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra maintains that he could have become chief minister if he wanted to and many BJD legislators are still in touch with him.
The statement three long years after his expulsion from the party following the coup attempt to bring Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik down has caught many eyeballs.
“I could have become the chief minister in 2009 because at least 85 legislators were with me. Letting the opportunity go was another clanger,” he told mediapersons.
Despite the upheaval, many BJD MLAs still support him and are in constant touch with him, he claimed.
Equating his diminished stature to an ant and Naveen’s electoral success to an elephant, he quoted a proverbial saying “even an ant can hurt an elephant.” He reiterated that he has enough ammo to give the four-time chief minister of Odisha a hard time.
It may be recalled that after 12 years of the BJD regime in Odisha, the chief minister had embarked on his maiden foreign trip to London since his coronation when the conspiracy to dethrone him was hatched. At least 33 legislators summoned by Pyari reportedly entered into a huddle at a hotel to unseat Naveen.
Naveen had to cut short his trip and rush to capital city to steady the BJD ship which had suffered turbulence following the “midnight robbery,” as described by Naveen Patnaik then.
The mighty Patnaik confidant fell from grace and was first suspended and then expelled from the party. Along with Mohapatra, a few other rebels owing allegiance to him were also ousted from the party.
The bureaucrat-turned politician then floated Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) to fight the last Assembly election in 2014. Mohapatra toured across the length and breadth of the state and campaigned vigorously for his nominees. He launched vitriolic attacks against Naveen and thundered to pull the strings of “Brahmastra” to expose the latter’s alleged involvement in various scams in Odisha.
The high-decibel campaigning failed to crack the political algorithm as none of its candidates was elected to the state Assembly.
The OJM patriarch’s political gimmicks to ‘expose’ Naveen hardly had any impact on the electoral outcome. Many suspended leaders, once said to be close to Mohapatra, were re-inducted to the party fold.
Now, the ‘Pyari factor’ is inconsequential in the BJD corridors. The man once dubbed Chanakya of the ruling party is leading a life of a loner. The 111, Saheed Nagar residence of the 75-year-old leader registers occasional visitors. However, the septuagenarian leader says he is leading a peaceful life.