Himansu Shekhar Rout

Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Badamba MLA Debi Prasad Mishra created a flutter in political circles after his statement, '…Pandian is our Chief Minister,' while addressing a meeting that marked the launch of ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ at Kacheri Ground of Badamaba in Cuttack on Thursday. Many political observers wondered if the statement of Mishra was intentional or a faux pas. 

The statement was made during the programme which was inaugurated through video conferencing by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the presence of 5T secretary VK Pandian. 

Addressing the meeting at Badamba, Debi Mishra said, "Badamba is the soil of heritage and glory where a new initiative like Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha has been launched. It was launched by our Chief Minister Pandian.”
Reportedly, many at the meeting were dismayed to hear such a statement, addressing Pandian (apparently referring to the 5T secretary) as the Chief Minister.  

The video of this meeting featuring Mishra’s remark has gone viral, exciting a lot of speculations.   

Notably, Mishra is not the first leader of the party to make such a remark about the 5T secretary. Earlier, BJD MP Pramila Bisoyi had made such a remark about Pandian while speaking at a public meeting held on May 31, 2023, in her constituency. 

After such repeated remarks from the BJD leaders, various circles are reportedly curious to know the reason behind it. They wonder if the remarks of the BJD MP and the legislator were just faux pas or deliberate attempts. What was most surprising is that both the ruling party leaders did not even make an effort to rectify their mistakes while continuing with their address to the public.

Later on Friday, while speaking to the media, Debi Mishra made a U-turn, squarely denying such a remark at the meeting in his constituency. “It is all baseless. I had never said this. I am in a good frame of mind, not insane. The context of my statement is being twisted. The Chief Minister was at the inaugural meeting. I am not a child.”

Mishra, who was trying to seek some leeway on the matter, said,” I was given only three minutes to deliver a speech and one has to speak in that limited time frame." 

Visibly upset, the MLA said that all know Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is popular and topmost leader of the party in Odisha. He also added that making such a video viral is wrong. 

Reacting to such a remark, BJP leader Ashok Panda said. "After watching the MLA’s video, I felt he was in an inebriated state. He was not aware of what he was saying. If he was not under the spell of liquor, he might be affected by senile dotage. If that is not the case, he might be trying to keep Pandian in good humours to ensure his ticket.”

Panda termed such a remark as shameless and noted that being a senior BJD leader in the capacity of the party’s vice president, he should explain his remarks to the people.