“Right decisions will be taken at the right time,” Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said on Thursday, returning home from the UK to a raucous public show of strength staged by his party, which had grappled with talk of a coup in his absence.
On the alleged revolt engineered by party strongman and Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra, the CM said he would discuss the matter with party leaders on Friday.
Patnaik, who has ruled uninterrupted for 12 years, was accorded a rousing welcome by Biju Janata Dal leaders and workers when he arrived at Biju Patnaik Airport here in the evening from Delhi following his eight-day foreign trip.
The CM headed straight to his house, Naveen Niwas, in a large motorcade. Thousands of supporters danced to drum beats along the two-km route from the airport to the CM’s house, having spared no effort to put up Patnaik’s cutouts, party flags and banners along the route. For party workers and leaders, their welcome left no room for doubt that Patnaik was the BJD boss and only power centre.
“Naveen Patnaik is our only leader. The people gathered here are proof of that,” said party MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain, adding it was up to the CM to take a decision on those ‘who tried to backstab him while he was on his first foreign trip after becoming the CM (in 2000)”.
A meeting of more than 30 BJD MLAs and three ministers at Mohapatra’s residence had triggered talk of an imminent revolt. A day later, Mohapatra, a former bureaucrat, denied he had tried to dethrone Patnaik.
Mohapatra, so far seen as the CM’s friend, philosopher and guide, had said the meeting at his house was meant to discuss organisational matters.