BJD infighting intensifies as Naveen, Pyari exchange words

Bhubaneswar: The infighting in the ruling BJD in Odisha further intensified on Friday with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik rejecting party's rebel leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra's allegation of the state's bid to foil Odisha Jan Morcha's (OJM) proposed rally here on October 28.

"The allegations made in his (Mohapatra) letter are false and baseless," Patnaik told reporters before leaving on a six-day visit to New Delhi.

With Patnaik rejecting OJM leader's allegation, the youth wing of the BJD demanded expulsion of Mohapatra from the party. Patnaik's supporters hit the streets and burnt pictures of Mohapatra besides asking him to resign as an MP of the Rajya Sabha.

"Mohapatra should tender his resignation as an MP on moral gound as he has been nominated to the Upper House of the Parliament by Naveen Patnaik," BJD youth wing president and MLA Sanjay Dasburma told reporters.

Mohapatra, in a letter to Patnaik on Thursday, had alleged that attempts were being made by the ruling party and the government at the instruction of the chief minister to foil OJM's proposed rally in the state capital.

Mohapatra, who floated OJM within the BJD four months after being suspended from the regional outfit on charge of attempting to topple the Patnaik government, however, shot off another letter to the Chief Minister this evening.

Mohapatra's second letter within 24-hours came in response to Patnaik's statement to his first letter where he had alleged the Chief Minister's involvement in attempting to disrupt OJM's proposed rally.

Mohapatra alleged that Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) and Motor Vehicle Inspectors (MVIs) were being instructed to ensure that no vehicle from their jurisdiction allowed to go Bhubaneswar on October 28. "The RTOs of Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack were threatening bus owners not to give their vehicles on hire to OJM leaders on that day," Mohapatra said.

The rebel BJD leader further alleged that Odisha Energy minister Arun Sahu was intimidating vehicle owners at Ranpur in Nayagarh district to restrict operation of their buses. Rejecting Mohapatra's allegation, the Energy minister said: "allegations against me are baseless."