Rift Within BJD: Amar Patnaik Joins Anti-Soumya Chorus

Bhubaneswar: Another Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader on Sunday joined issue with party’s Khandapada MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik over the latter’s critical views on the ruling dispensation and 5T secretary V K Pandian.

Speaking to mediapersons, BJD MP Amar Patnaik said people are aware of the agenda behind his (Soumya’s) writings and statements. “Criticising the party while being a member is not agreeable. People of Odisha will also not accept it,” he said.

Soumya Patnaik is yet to react to Amar’s statements, which followed reactions by party leaders Anubhav Patnaik, Arun Sahoo, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Pratap Deb over the Khandapada legislator questioning the manner in which the regional party and government were functioning. In editorial articles in a leading Odia daily as well as bytes to journalists, Soumya has attacked 5T secretary V K Pandian’s whirlwind district visits and stranglehold over the government and party.

On Saturday, Industries and Energy Minister Pratap Keshari Deb asked the Soumya to quit BJD if he was unable to abide by the party discipline. “It is inappropriate to take on the party and the government while remaining within the organisation. He should rather resign and express his opinion as an editor,” he said.

Remaining in the party and criticising it through writings or statements can only be described as blackmailing tactics, Deb added.

Soumya shot back, saying his attempts to reform the party is not indiscipline. He also said the leaders making statements against him were being pressurised to do so. “IAS officers should refrain from getting involved in BJD matters. If they have an interest in politics, they should contemplate resigning from their salaried jobs,” he added.

Earlier, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Nayagarh MLA Arun Sahoo flayed Soumya for his criticism of the 5T Secretary, who, they said, was carrying out directives of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Soumya’s stand has seemingly exposed growing differences within the ruling party ahead of twin elections scheduled in April 2024 in Odisha and has fuelled speculation of possible disciplinary action against the lawmaker.

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