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Naveen Patnaik asks BJD leader to probe allegations against Baijayant Panda

Biju Janata Dal leader Baijayant Panda accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary of “interfering in party affairs and unconstitutionally indulging in politics”.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2018 13:18 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar 
Naveen Patnaik,Baijayant Panda,BJD
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has asked a minister to probe allegations against Baijayant Panda.(PTI file photo)

Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has appointed minister Usha Devi and senior leader Pramilla Mallick to probe allegations that Baijayant Panda is disregarding party workers, setting the tone for disciplinary action against the rebel MP.

Panda triggered a storm in the party last week after he accused the chief minister’s private secretary of “interfering in party affairs and unconstitutionally indulging in politics”.

Though Patnaik retorted by saying his detractors attack his office “when they have no other issues”, he has kept mum over the possible action on Panda.

Sources in the ruling party said unlike other rebellious party members who faced the axe as soon as they raised the banner of revolt, Patnaik has been careful of swift action against the MP and not let him become a “martyr”.

Patnaik has met BJD leaders from Mahakalpara block of Kendrapara district and Nischintakoili block of Cuttack district in the last two to three days over their complaints that Panda was not maintaining any contact with them.

The BJD leaders from Kendrapara urged Patnaik to take action against the Lok Sabha MP alleging that “MP is not following party ethics”.

And three days ago, Nischintakoili block chairperson Sabita Ojha and her supporters also met the chief minister with similar allegations.

“He is violating the government guidelines by not providing the MPLAD (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds since the last four years,” Ojha alleged.

Similarly, Mahanga block chairperson complained that the MP was neglecting the sanction of the MPLAD funds.

Panda’s political secretary Jyoti Prakash Ghose rubbished the allegations of favouritism, saying there is no such guideline to provide projects under the MPLAD fund.

“The funds are provided keeping in view the needs of people,” he said.

BJD spokesperson Debashis Samantray said when the chief minister loses trust in someone it is a matter of time before the person faces action.

“His action never comes amid speculations. Let’s wait and watch,” Samantray said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 13:15 IST