Five months after he was expelled from Biju Janata Dal, rebel leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Tuesday turned his political forum, Odisha Jan Morcha, into a full-fledged political party and vowed to remove chief minister Naveen Patnaik from power.
Making the announcement at his residence in Bhubaneswar, the 73-year-old leader said OJM would strive to end Patnaik’s “corrupt, undemocratic and feudal” rule.
“We will field candidates in 110 of Odisha’s 147 assembly seats and consider tying up with like minded parties for the 2014 elections. We will win at least 85 seats,” Mohapatra, presently a member of Rajya Sabha, told reporters.
Asked if OJM’s doors were open for BJD leaders, Mohapatra said they were most welcome. “But those interested must do it within 30 days from now, but not just before elections,” he said.
Mohapatra, a former bureaucrat who advised the chief minister, was seen to be extremely powerful for most of Patnaik’s more than a decade long rule. However, Mohapatra, along with two MLAs and several ministers, was suspended from the BJD after he allegedly plotted a coup against the chief minister on May 29 last year while the latter was abroad on an official tour.
Denying the charge of having tried to dethrone the chief minister and challenging his suspension, Mohapatra floated OJM as a political forum within the BJD on October 19 in a view to establishing “inner democracy” in the party. On October 28, he threw down the gauntlet at Patnaik by holding an impressive rally in Bhubaneswar attracting thousands of disgruntled party workers.
Though Patnaik expelled him from BJD on November 16, Mohapatra had retaliated by holding some more rallies across the state.