Mrunal Manmay Dash

The brand new office building of the second richest regional political party in the country, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is almost complete and is ready to host party members after its inauguration on April 23.

The new party office which has been constructed beside the current office at Unit-6 spans across1.18 acres of land in two plots taken on lease from the General Administration department.

As per reports, the party paid Rs 12.38 crore for the plot. And as far as the construction is concerned, former Works Department Engineer-In-Chief, Pitabas Panda said, “The cost of the construction would likely be between Rs 2500 and Rs 2900 per square foot, which takes the total cost to Rs 51 crores.”

Bhumi Pujan of the office building was done on July 12, 2021, and it was completed in just over two years of time.

However, the same has brought criticism from the Opposition, which trained guns on the BJD questioning the source of funds used to construct the building.

Sources said, even the yearly report furnished by the BJD with the Election Commission does not have any expenses for the office building in it, prompting the Opposition to attack the BJD over the source of the money.

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said, though the BJD is getting fat donations from all over the globe, it does not spend much of the money.

As per the ADR report, the party received a donation of Rs 307.28 crores in 2021-22 but spent only Rs 28.63 lakh during the same year. Out of it around Rs 23 crore (80%) was spent on elections, while there was no mention of the construction of the building.

While the BJP alleged that the building has been constructed by encroaching on the land meant for the expansion of Capital Hospital, the Congress said, all the money spent on the building was donations from the corporate sector.

“More than half acres of land meant for the expansion of the hospital was grabbed by the BJD for their office building. To empty the exchequer by corruption and building swanky new buildings for the party has become a practice of the BJD,” said BJP State General Secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan.

Congress MLA, Suresh Routray said, “It is nearly impossible to construct such a huge building from public donations. It is actually the corporate who have built it for the BJD.”

BJD, in its response, said that building an office is natural for all parties.

“No corporate have been asked to donate money for the office building,” said BJD MLA, Rajkishore Das.

People in the know of things are also raising questions that if the party functioned from a rented government quarter for 25 years, then what was the need to construct such a palatial building now.

“I think this is a message the party wants to convey to those who thought the party will be finished after Naveen Patnaik,” said senior journalist, Rabi Das.

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