Odisha’s Ruling BJD Witnesses Power Struggle In CM Naveen’s Home Turf Ganjam

Berhampur: Infighting in Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seemed to have intensified in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s home district of Ganjam with orders for suspension of two senior leaders being modified several times since Monday.

As the feud within the ruling party appeared to be spreading to more and more assembly segments in the southern Odisha district, Digapahandi has emerged as the latest constituency to be stung by political discord and groupism.

Considered as the stronghold of party heavyweight and former Assembly Speaker Surya Narayan Patro, Digapahandi has been witnessing intense power struggle among different groups in the last few months, causing embarrassment for the ruling party.

Following Patro’s illness, a cut-throat competition among party leaders seems to be in the offing for occupying his place in the area. Patro’s son Biplab and supporters of former block chairman Bipin Pradhan have come face to face in their bid to gain dominance in the constituency.

While Pradhan intensified his political activities in the area during the last few months, senior leaders Haribandhu Reddy and Pramod Panigrahi were seen playing an active role in his programmes. The two have also been openly opposing Biplab and his supporters.

In a fresh development, BJD’s Ganjam district President Ramesh Chandra Chyaupatnaik issued an order on Monday suspending Reddy and Panigrahi from the party. While Reddy was suspended for indiscipline, creating disturbance in the party and criticising seniors, Pradhan was accused of collecting money from people by promising to provide them with Shram Cards. He also faced charges of causing indiscipline in the party.

However, a fresh order was issued by the district BJD President on Tuesday morning withdrawing the suspension of the Reddy and Pradhan. The sudden change of stance by the party, which had levelled serious charges against the two leaders, triggered surprise in political circles in the district.

Even as questions were raised over the surprising move, another order was issued by the district BJD President after a short while saying that the suspension of the two leaders will continue to remain in force.

While the move triggered confusion in political circles, observers said such developments may harm the ruling party in the district.

While Reddy claimed that he was suspended without being served a show cause notice in an attempt to suppress his voice, Pradhan did not make any comment. Stating that he has been working as a disciplined worker for the last 35 years, Reddy said he sincerely carried out all responsibilities given by the party.

The district BJD chief clarified that the first suspension order was withdrawn as it was issued inadvertently without serving the two with show cause notice. Therefore, the fresh suspension order was issued after serving them show cause notice, he added.

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