HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Naveen Patnaik's former mentor Pyarimohan Mohapatra now isolated

Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times  Bhubaneswar, March 30, 2014
First Published: 18:24 IST(30/3/2014) | Last Updated: 18:26 IST(30/3/2014)

Five years ago, Pyarimohan Mohapatra was the all-powerful mentor of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.


Today, with the Lok Sabha and assembly elections around the corner, Mohapatra finds himself isolated.

In 2009, Mohapatra called the shots when Odisha's ruling party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was fighting alone after snapping ties with nine-year coalition partner BJP, following the anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal.

The BJD returned to power for the third time, winning 103 of 147 assembly seats and 14 of 21 Lok Sabha seats – and the success was credited to Mohapatra's "election engineering".

Three years later, Mohapatra was ousted from the party for allegedly plotting a coup against Patnaik.

"I never plotted any coup. It was Patnaik who plotted to oust me from the BJD," says Mohapatra.

Mohapatra then formed the Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) in 2012. But the OJM has since lost steam, with many leaders deserting it.

His party has fielded candidates in three Lok Sabha and 68 assembly seats. But it is bogged down by lack of funds. Mohapatra blames the Patnaik government.

"Whenever our party men approach someone for funds, the person is threatened by BJD. I cannot call anyone as my telephones are tapped," Mohapatra says.

He also failed to form an alliance with the BJP or the newly formed Ama Odisha Party, headed by former chief minister JB Patnaik's son-in-law Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

So what does the future hold for OJM? The man who could once predict poll results would rather not hazard a guess.

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