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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: While Brand Naveen still remains the Biju Janata Dal's biggest strength, his party members working at the lower level have lost the credibility due to corruption and hooliganism, Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda was quoted saying during a recent interview to a national magazine before he tendered his resignation to the party supremo.

Though Naveen has been highly successful in maintaining his image, the party has completely deviated from the objectives it had begun with, said Jay in his conversation with Swarajyamag. The Parliamentarian claimed that the main reason behind such situation is the overnight ‘coup’ of May 29, 2012, that led to the fall of Late Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and the rise of VK Pandian, Private Secretary to CM Naveen.

In the interview, Jay revealed what he feels about the current state of politics in state, the Pyari rebellion, the sudden rise of Pandian, Naveen's image and the future of Biju Janata Dal.

Speaking about the 2012 midnight operation, Panda said that the party was working well for the 14 years under CM’s leadership. But Pyari’s getting together with party leaders in Naveen’s absence from state was the major turning point in BJD, he mentioned.

After the ‘coup’, strange things happened within the party, as many people who were associated with that revolt were rewarded and given royal treatment while the faithful members of the party were neglected and pushed away, he stated, adding, this is when a bureaucrat working at a lower level came to limelight. Panda revealed how surprised he was when he saw the bureaucrat sitting next to the Chief Minister during the 2014 elections ticket distribution.

It was then that Panda started noticing the deviations in the way things were operating for the past 14 years in the party. At the same time, the CM, who was intolerant to corruption earlier, was so ignorant to see the change in a massive way, he stated.

Speaking about the current state of politics, Panda accepted that Brand Naveen is still BJD’s biggest strength.

The party worked hard to strengthen its image and CM Naveen too took some brave steps to deal with the corruption at that point. But with the growing corruption and hooliganism in the state, BJD started crumbling from inside and the party workers too lost the credibility.

CM has always been strict and taken action against the culprits, be it any of his close allies or any party member involved in corruption or criminal activities. He has always maintained a clean image and will continue to preserve it in the future as well.

- BJD Spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda said.

Panda further stated that despite being the ruling party for the past 18 years, BJD still has that appetite and drive to achieve success in the upcoming elections. The Congress and BJP still lag behind and do not stand close to the BJD, Panda said, adding that the BJD will maintain equidistance from both these parties till the elections are over and decide after that accordingly.

However, Panda pointed out that if a reliable alternative is presented, the situation might change. In politics, even a week is sufficient and we have months to go for the elections, Panda said.

It wasn’t distinctly visible that a party like the Janata Dal could come up as an alternative force against the Congress, but it happened. In 1995, everyone thought that the Congress did not have potential to become the ruling party again, but there was change and Congress again came to power.

- BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan mentioned.

“It’s their personal opinion. The current state is situational and is due to past election results. Wait with patience as we are not going to fight a losing battle,” said OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik.

Though Panda did not reveal anything about his future course of action during the interview, his next step is what everyone awaits for.

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