BJD puts off farmers’ workshop; invites ‘coward’ jibe from Opp

Bhubaneswar: The ruling BJD, which has found itself at the receiving end of a concerted Opposition attack ever since the Pajero vehicle issue involving Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma surfaced, encountered another embarrassment on Monday with the BJP and Congress terming the postponement of BJD’s farmers’ workshop scheduled on Wednesday as a ‘cowardly move’ to ‘save’ the minister’s face.

After a brief silence for two days, the BJP today got the much required ammunition to fire at the BJD, after the latter put the April 20 workshop on hold.

“Due to the prevailing extreme heat wave conditions across the State, the party has decided to postpone the farmers’ gathering,” said Sushant Singh, the head of the BJD farmers’ cell.

But the BJP refused to buy the reasoning proffered by the ruling party.

“The scam-tainted minister (Dasburma) has no face to show. After the minister’s chit fund links came to fore, the BJD doesn’t want to be humiliated in front of 10, 000 farmers. He is under pressure and that’s why he failed to mobilise poor farmers for this congregation,” said BJP’s Sameer Mohanty.

“The party’s move is a cowardly act. It has lost its morality,” he stated.

The Congress, which has been demanding Dasburma’s scalp over the matter along with BJP for quite some time, said the BJD is scared of facing the farmers’ ire.

“Knowing that it is on the back foot in the matter, BJD has postponed the gathering. It is citing heat wave as the reason just to shift the focus,” Congress general secretary Sulochana Das said.

On the other hand, the absence of Dasburma in the Biju Patnaik birth centenary coordination meeting here today has raised many eyebrows. Party sources said the minister didn’t wish to attend the meeting convened by BJD MP Tathagat Sathapaty as the latter had made a thinly veiled ‘rat’ jibe at the minister two days back on the chit fund issue.