The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday expelled two party leaders- Khandapada MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Remuna MLA Sudhanshu Sekhar Parida-from the party for their alleged anti-people activities.
It was BJD supremo, Naveen Patnaik who made the announcement regarding the expulsion of both the heavyweight leaders. The expulsion of Soumya seems to be an attempt by the BJD to send a strong message against the backdrop of growing views within the party. This came after Soumya was vehemently criticising the 5T Secretary in his editorials and on other platforms.
It is said that these opinions were providing fodder to other leaders in the BJD to unite. Apart from this, it was reportedly helping the disgruntled leaders to team up. Hence, today’s action on Soumya was a clear message that there is no escape route for speaking against the 5T Secretary.
As per sources, it is the last resort available for the BJD to unleash fear in the name of discipline ahead of the crucial 2024 elections.
BJD leader, Shipra Mallick said, “It seems like an example for other leaders to prevent them from going down the same path. I don’t see any impact.”
In the case of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Sudhanshu Sekhar Parida, the BJD took prompt action. However, the party was hesitant to take similar action during CM Naveen’s fifth term after 2019 despite serious allegations levelled against several MLAs and Ministers. Be it the alleged role of Pratap Jena in the Mahanga double murder case, Dibyashankar Mishra's alleged links in the Mamita Meher case, or woman harassment allegation against Tirtol MLA Bijay Shankar Das, or torture allegations against MLA Srikanta Sahu.
Despite the hue and cry created by the Opposition, BJD did not take any action against these leaders. Even Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, whose role was alleged in a recruitment scam, was expelled and arrested.
Meanwhile, politics is now active over the expulsion of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Sudhanshu Sekhar Parida.
Senior journalist, Rabi Das said, “If any government agency tries to find any loophole, it will find one or two. But any action intentionally against media will never be a healthy sign for the state.”