Pushing ahead with his drive against the rebels who allegedly tried to topple his government last week, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik sacked housing and urban development minister Sharda Prasad Nayak on Monday.
Announcing Nayak’s dismissal, Patnaik said, “I was aware of his activities,” and described it as “more serious than corruption”.
Nayak was the third minister to fall since Patnaik started cracking the whip.
On May 29, more than 30 BJD MLAs and three ministers had met at party strongman Pyarimohan Mohapatra’s residence, triggering talks of an imminent revolt. Patnaik, who was on an eight-day trip to United Kingdom, rushed back to Bhubaneswar immediately.
Two days later, the chief minister suspended Mohapatra, his one-time mentor and Rajya Sabha MP, who was said to be the brain behind the revolt. Then he started purging Mohapatra sympathisers from the party and the administration.
Two ministers -- women and child development minister Anjali Behera and minister for state for transport and commerce Sanjib Sahu – have been sacked. They have also been suspended from the party along with two legislators.
Some IPS officers have been transferred out of key posts, more changes are expected to be made in the bureaucracy.
Party sources said the axe may even fall on some people heading government bodies and cooperative societies who owe allegiance to Mohapatra.
Nayak, a staunch loyalist of Pyarimohan Mohapatra, was the Youth Congress president of Sundergarh district, who quit the party after being denied a ticket for 2000 assembly polls.
He unsuccessfully contested as an Independent and in 2004, joined the BJD.