Manoj Kumar Jena

The alleged rift in the ruling BJD in Athmallik came out in the open when party leader Nalini Pradhan faced stiff opposition while attending a programme organised by Gond Samaj on Tuesday.

According to sources, ‘Nalini Go back’ slogans were raised against Pradhan when he was on his way to attend the programme. The protestors accused him of hijacking Athmallik BJD party and not allowing MLA Ramesh Sai in party programmes and making derogatory remarks against Gond Samaj.

“We heard once Nalini Pradhan made a derogatory remark against the Gond community. That is why we opposed him and raised slogans against him," said Tarani Sen Nayak of Gond Samaj. 

Explaining about the situation, Nalini said, “There was no issue in the programme. MLAs of the district have arrived in the programme, so I accompanied them. The locals might have some other issues. But we offered prayers at the shrine and revealed the message of the CM.”

“I have no knowledge regarding the incident. Ramesh Sai was not present in the programme. Ramesh Sai had invited Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to the programme, which we are not in support of,” said Angul district BJD President Mahendra Bastia.