Pradeep Pattanayak

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday launched a broadside against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his stoic silence over Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s ‘Rashtrapatni’ remark on President Draupadi Murmu. 

Naveen had supported Draupadi Murmu and his party celebrated her victory across the State. He has also been in the pith of discussion for his article ‘E Mati Ra Kanya’ (Daughter of this soil). But when it is also expected that he should say something about the Congress MP’s remark on the President, he is maintaining silence, prompting the Opposition to train their guns on him. 

Deputy leader of Opposition Bishnu Charan Sethi hit out at the CM in a tweet and asked whether Naveen really loves his sister or is doing politics. 

BJP MLA Nauri Nayak too took jibes at Naveen. “The remark of the Congress MP for his sister, the President, must have hurt him (Naveen Patnaik). But he has not reacted as should have and as expected.”

In his reply, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said the BJD had joined in the protest launched against the Congress in the Parliament. And there is no need to always speak on every issue.

On the other hand, Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said it can never be predicted what both the BJD and BJP would do and say.

Meanwhile, political pundits believe the BJD had supported the President with an aim to retain tribal and woman vote banks and not to allow the BJP to have all the mileage. 

“The silence of BJD is a mystery. Here, the question arises whether the support the BJD threw behind now-elected President Draupadi Murmu was genuine or the party did so out of fear of losing its vote banks,” observed senior journalist, Prasanna Mohanty.