BJD accuses Pranab of manipulating resignation

Bhubaneswar: Accusing UPA`s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee of "manipulating" his resignation from chairmanship of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), the ruling BJD in the state today hit the streets holding Union Minister Srikant Jena responsible for doing it on back date.

"It is certain that Pranab Mukherjee resigned from the post of ISI Chairman on back date after his opponent P A Sangma drew attention of the returning officer," alleged BJD vice-president and Health minister Prasanna Acharya. Jena, the Union minister of state with Independent charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation betrayed the tribal community by securing Mukherjee`s resignation on back date, alleged Finance minister Prafulla Ghadai.

Refuting the allegation, Jena said "I have absolutely no role in the entire episode. First of all, the post of chairman of ISI is not an office of the profit. The post was exempted from office of profit in 2006. It is simply foolish on part of BJD to level such wild charges." Jena, who was the Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the United Front government claimed that it was he who had proposed name of P A Sangma for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker.

"BJD was not even born when I had projected Sangma as the Speaker of Lok Sabha," Jena told PTI over phone. Meanwhile, several Odisha ministers defended Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik`s statement against Mukherjee on doling funds to three states ahead of Presidential polls. "UPA has set a bad trend. Attempt was made to purchase votes of certain parties by doling funds to states ruled by them," said Acharya.