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BJD MP Jay Panda targets CM office again, Odisha ruling party says he’s doing BJP’s bidding

Panda claims anti-social elements are getting protection and support from the “corrupt non-Odia officer” in the CMO

india Updated: Jan 11, 2018 22:29 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
BJD,Jay Panda,BJP
BJD MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda on Thursday took a dig at a CMO official whom he had earlier accused of protecting anti-social elements. (HT File Photo )

The 20-year-old ruling Biju Janata Dal seems to be set for another round of bickering with its media savvy MP Baijayant Panda on Thursday throwing down the gauntlet at chief minister Naveen Patnaik at a public function in Cuttack district.

Panda was dropped from the post of BJD parliamentary party spokesperson in May last year over his Twitter outbursts that the ruling party was straying from its principles.

At the Cuttack function, the Kendrapara MP said even “bullets can’t stop” him from meeting the people of his constituency, in an apparent dig at a senior official of the CM’s office, whom Panda had earlier accused of harbouring anti-social elements.

After inaugurating an overhead water tank of 1 lakh litre capacity in Nischintakoili block of the district in the morning, Panda said the people of Mahanga would remember who was trying to get them drinking water and who was trying to deny them the same.

The BJD Lok Sabha MP’s remarks came couple of days after he issued a press statement accusing a senior officer in the chief minister’s office of “interfering in party affairs and unconstitutionally indulging in politics”.

Apprehending a re-run of last year’s violent incident during the water tank inauguration ceremony from local BJD leaders including MLA and health minister Pratap Jena, Panda said anti-social elements are getting protection and support from the “corrupt non-Odia officer”.

In May last year, the MP was pelted with stones and eggs during the inauguration of an overhead water project in Mahanga allegedly by supporters of the health minister over allegations that the latter’s name was not there in the plaque for the drinking water project.

Trouble seemed to be brewing again on Thursday after local BJD leaders sought cancellation of the permission granted for the programme, alleging the MP was not in touch with local residents and there is resentment among locals which is likely to take an ugly shape.

Though today’s event passed off peacefully despite a few BJD women activists staging protests against Panda, BJD leadership came down heavily on him.

BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb accused Panda of echoing the views of BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan by raising fingers at the officer in the CMO.

He further said that from the utterances of the BJD MP, it was evident that many “fence sitters will be switching sides” ahead of next year’s general elections.

“Some will quit the BJD. Some will join the BJD. Some will join the BJP, while some will quit the BJP. Hence, such statements will be in plenty in the days to come. Today it’s crystal clear that our Kendrapara MP’s statement on officers and their political proximity is the replica of the union minister’s comment, Deb said, indicating disciplinary action against Panda.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 22:29 IST