BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab Takes Cue From Soumya, Makes Veiled Attack On Party Affairs

Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of BJD vice president Soumya Ranjan Patnaik’s recent article in Odia daily ‘Sambad’ over alleged under-reporting of COVID deaths in Odisha, another senior party leader and Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab on Sunday questioned growing intolerance and lack of democracy within political parties and thereby created a flutter within the ruling party.

In his editorial in Odia daily ‘Prajatantra’, Mahtab dwelled upon decreasing democracy in political parties, especially since passing of the anti-defection law in January 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution. Since then, elected representatives, whether to the state Assembly or the Parliament, are constrained from giving their views and have to follow the party diktat.

“Such is the state of affairs that there is no scope for any unbiased and intellectual discussion in the State Assemblies as well as Parliament as it becomes mandatory for an elected representatives to present only the views of his/her own party. Sadly, there is no forum in any political party to deliberate on this issue. If the party is in power, some handful bureaucrats decide the policy of the government as the policy of the ruling party,” wrote Mahtab, who is Editor of Prajatantra.

He also said that as the meetings of the executive committee and the national council of the political parties are now limited to singing paeans to their party leadership, there is no scope to discuss disagreements over any issue and any disagreement is termed as anti-party activity. “Is it really anti-party or the against the interests of the leaders?” Mahtab asked.

Drawing a comparison on the modus operandi of the political parties with companies, the BJD MP said the party leaderships, like the corporate houses, are now running the affairs of the parties with their managers and clerical staff. “Some leaders and workers, who value their self-respect, quit the party if they have any differences of opinion with the party leadership while some others are forced to leave the party disgracefully,” he noted.

“No one ever joins any political party to tolerate humiliation of the party leadership. Now the question is, if the party forms the government, then who all are involved in deciding the policy of the government?  It is now seen that there is no bridge between the party and the government. Earlier governments used to implement the policies of the ruling parties. But it is no longer the case now,” Mahtab pointed out.

He said in a democratic setup the parties in power should respect the opinions of the Opposition as well as that of leaders of their own party. “If a ruling party leader comes up with constructive criticism of the government, how can it be termed anti-party activity? If the party leadership forgets the time-honoured saying “to err is human”, s/he invites his/her own downfall. After all, it is useless to expect democratic behaviour from any political party that has closed the door for any deliberations on this matter,” Mahtab maintained.

Commenting on the editorial of Mahtab and the article by Soumya Ranjan Patnaik,  Congress leader Suresh Routray said there are several BJD MLAs and MPs who are displeased over the affairs of the regional party.

“A number of ruling party leaders have shared their displeasure with me regarding the sorry state of affairs within their party. Unfortunately, Naveen babu is unaware of these disturbing developments in the party. A handful of bureaucrats are now running his party. If this trend continues, the BJD would collapse like a house of cards in the future,” Routray pointed out.

When asked, BJD leader Padmanabha Behera said, “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to give any comment on the matter.”

Also Read:Soumya Ranjan Stirs Up A Hornets’ Nest, Targets Odisha CM Over ‘Fudging’ Of COVID Deaths


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