Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Addressing a meeting in Cuttack, 5T Secretary VK Pandian reportedly lured and assured BJD leaders and workers that he would arrange a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas for the winner with the biggest margin in the 2024 general elections.

Such a statement has triggered sharp reactions and questions are being asked whether Naveen Patnaik is aware of his party leaders or not. Doubts are being raised if Naveen Patnaik is cognizant of the distribution of tickets to various leaders or not.

While the Opposition parties termed Pandian’s statement as ‘shameful’, BJD leaders seemed not to be perturbed at all. Moreover, they have gleefully accepted that Pandian is the only way to reach the Chief Minister.

As per reports, Pandian has not only lured the BJD leaders, he has also assigned them tasks while disguising a threat behind his smile. He gave a challenge to the party leaders to perform better than 2014 and 2019 elections.

Strangely, senior BJD leaders like Debi Mishra, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Debashish Samantaray, and Mayor Subhash Singh, who were present in the meeting, didn’t show any reaction to Pandian’s statements. Rather, they believe that Pandian is the only medium to meet the Chief Minister.

“Winning is not a big matter. Pandian motivated our leaders and workers to win with huge margins. Pandian is a medium. He is our instrument to connect with the Chief Minister,” said Cuttack District President of the BJD, Debashish Samantaray.

However, Opposition parties slammed BJD leaders over their helpless position and Pandian’s dominance over them. As per the Congress, it is a shameful situation for the BJD leaders.

“Pandian’s statement is a matter of shame for the senior leaders of BJD. With Cuttack denizens’ blessings, Congress has been able to win the MLA seat during Naveen Patnaik’s rule. We are confident that with the support from the people of Cuttack, Congress will perform better in all the seats in Cuttack district,” said Barabati-Cuttack MLA and Congress leader, Mohammed Moquim.

Meanwhile, the BJP said that people will give the right answer to BJD’s rhetoric.

“BJD is on the back foot in the Barabati-Cuttack constituency. As the government is afraid of the political situation here, they tried to create an environment in favour of BJD by spending huge amounts of money. However, people have tried and tested everything. They will not vote in favour of the BJD despite their huge spending,” said BJP leader Smruti Pattnaik.

“No one will disagree that Pandian has the confidence of the Chief Minister. But people are voting for Naveen Patnaik. However, by giving this kind of statement, Pandian is only increasing the distance between the people and the Chief Minister,” said political analyst Rabi Das.