Himansu Shekhar Rout

Legendary leader and former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik was paid tributes on his birth anniversary on Tuesday in various parts of the state as all reminisced about his political journey and valuable contributions to the nation and the state.

But at some places, his birth anniversary celebrations reportedly exposed cracks in the rank and file of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as divergent camps led by their leaders organised programmes separately on the occasion. 

At Soro in Balasore, MLA Parsuram Dhada accompanied by his supporters celebrated Biju Babu’s birth anniversary sidelining his own party leader and a ticket hopeful, Shibani Shankar Ray. On the other hand, Ray and scores of party workers separately organised another programme. 

A similar scene was witnessed at Jeypore in Koraput where frontline party workers including Ishwar Chandra Panigrahy, Subash Rout and Bindurani Mishra organised a rally in the morning, but former lawmaker Rabinarayan Nanda was conspicuous by his absence. Nanda participated in another programme organised in the afternoon.    

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In Aska, BJD MLA Manjula Swain along with her supporters organised a programme while a camp antagonistic to her leadership held a separate function. At the programme, party leaders shouted slogans against the legislator accusing her of being involved in corruption. They demanded that the top leadership should not give a ticket to Swain this time.

A similar fissure in the ruling party was also reported from Salipur where MLA Prashant Behera with his band of supporters offered garlands on the statue of Biju Babu at College Road. Moments later, a group of party workers led by another influential party leader Himansu Mohanty did the same.