Rift Within BJD: Soumya Patnaik Verbal Duel With Atanu, Arun Sahoo Fuels Disciplinary Action Talk

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday continued its tirade against Khandapada MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, who has been taking a dig at the ruling dispensation and 5T secretary V K Pandian over his whirlwind Odisha tour at meetings and through his writings.

Accusing him of ‘blackmailing’ the BJD while being within its fold, Higher Education Minister and BJD leader Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak questioned his allegiance to a single party. “You know Soumya babu better than me, how many parties he has changed so far and also his next move,” he told reporters.

Atanu further said he can never achieve his ‘malicious’ intentions. “I fail to understand his opposition to the visits by Chief Minister’s Office to different districts to hear the grievances of people and their quick redressal,” he said.

The minister, however, declined to comment if the party is contemplating any action against the Khandapada MLA, saying such things are decided by party supremo.

On Thursday, BJD leader and ex-minister Arun Sahoo slammed Soumya Ranjan and said the latter resorted to ‘blackmailing’ having failed to get a ministerial berth. He further said he was able to win an election only after joining BJD, and appeared perplexed for last few days, which is evident from his constant attack on the ruling party and the government.

Referring to one of his articles, Arun also questioned his contribution to the ‘soil’ and the party during his tenure as an MLA.

Hitting back, Soumya Patnaik advised his party leaders against doing politics on television. “I have not heard their statements, so I would not like to comment on them. But I am convinced they are being forced to making such statements under pressure from a particular individual. He had lost the minister’s post once and may lose it again if he does not buckle under that pressure,” he said, while calling out Atanu for lying despite being the son of ‘Patkura Gandhi’.

He further said both the leaders have proved his editorial, ‘Aatmabibhor Prashasak, Asahaya Rajaneta’ (self-obsessed administrator, helpless politicians), right by making these statements which reflect their helplessness.

On allegations of being a partyhopper, Soumya added: “Naveen babu (Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik) keeps changing his decision every 15 days. On August 19, the CM said the BJD would oppose the Centre and then altered it in the next few days. Decisions are changed according to circumstances and it is quite common.”

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