Bhubaneswar: Two days after ruling BJD law maker Soumya Ranjan Patnaik sparked a political firestorm by accusing his own party-led government of under reporting Covid deaths in his editorial piece, another BJD heavyweight and veteran MP Bhartruhari Mahtab today weaved a fresh article in his self-edited Odia Daily, hitting back at the parties which have lost inner democracy.
Although Mahtab has not uttered a single word against any particular party or its leader, his write-up neverthless gave a source to the Opposition to hit at the BJD which is allegedly run by the bureaucrats.
In his editorial piece, the Lok Sabha member from Cuttack has outlined the priority to respect and accept the difference of opinions and criticisms in political parties.
He wrote “An elected representative, may he/she be an MLA or MP, they are forced to give opinion on any issues as per the direction of the party high command. An intellectual discussion cannot be held inside the House even if a member wants to discuss freely. They are forced to present some points in the House keeping in mind the party interest only.”
The veteran Parliamentarian also expressed anguish over the fact that a member is considered anti-party force if he/she opined in the larger interest of the State which may not go down well with the party boss.
“If the party is in power, some so-called intellectuals called them Pandit bureaucrats determine the party policies and that are assumed as final,” he stated.
Mahtab further wrote," leaders are not allowed to debate on the difference of opinions. Is it really anti-party activity or anti-leader’s interest?" he asked.
The article further mentioned that many of the political parties are functioning like a corporate house which runs with some managers and clerical staff.
Expecting democratic behaviour from such party is wrong if freedom of expression in the same party or open debate on universal interest are squeezed, the MP stated.
Even though the BJD MP has not pointed out any individual or particular party in his article, it has hastened the opposition parties to term it as a reflection of intra-party squabble in BJD.
Senior Congress Leader and MLA Suresh Routray said “Their (Soumya Ranjan and Bhartruhari) write-ups were published in newspaper because they have their own media organisation. In reality, there are so many BJD MLAs and MPs who are displeased over the party affair. Many of them have also discussed with me regarding the sorry state of affairs within their party. Unfortunately, Naveen Babu (CM and BJD president Naveen Patnaik) is unaware of all these happenings. Only four-five officers are running their party. If the trend continues, the BJD would collapse in near future,”
When asked, BJD leader and Transport Minister Padmanav Behera, however, refused to comment on the article.
He said “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to make any comment on the matter.”
Notably, BJD vice-president and MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, in his front-page editorial in Odia daily Sambad, had accused the government of hiding the real figure of Covid deaths in the State. He had also demanded the government to issue a White Paper on the Covid fatalities.