Kandhamal seat muddle led to BJD-BJP split
The disquiet over the Kandhamal riots, mutually acceptable seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls and the poor show of the saffron ally in recent civic elections could have contributed in equal measure to the parting of ways between the BJD and BJP after 11 years.
Forty three people were killed and scores of villages set ablaze in the August 23 riots in Kandhamal district following the assassination of VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati.
Patnaik's image as a "secular" leader took a beating as thousands of people fled their villages and took shelter in relief camps as mobs allegedly owing allegiance to the Sangh Parivar attacked churches and houses in Kandhamal district.
Over 2,500 people are still living in the camps.
In further embarrassment to the chief minister, Sangh Parivar decided to observe a statewide bandh on Christmas day and the BJP supported the call. Patnaik had to speak to BJP central leaders before the issue could be resolved.
Besides, a section of the BJP legislators even caused a ruckus in the assembly on the killing of the Swami demanding that the party should withdraw support to the Patnaik government.
"These incidents could have prompted the BJD supremo to weigh his options and part ways with a party which had tried to embarrass him on several occasions," political analyst Rabi Das said.