More trouble for Dasburma as Tathagat takes potshots

Bhubaneswar: The Pajero vehicle issue involving Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma is fast snowballing into a huge setback for him with more and more fingers from within the party being raised against him with each passing day. A day after senior BJD leader and Sambalpur MP Nagendra Pradhan maintained that the minister should respect public opinion, senior party man Tathagat Satapathy followed suit today likening the beleaguered minister to a ‘rat’ in a grain godown.

Making a veiled attack on the Bramhagriri legislator on the issue, the Dhenkanal MP, known for his sardonic statements, said; “There are a lot of rats in the godowns of Food Corporation of India (FCI) across the country. These rats secretly eat rice, sugar and wheat in the godowns. Should we remove the stacks to save the food grains or check the entry of rats into the godowns?”

“The wise man will pick the rat and put it outside the godown very cleverly. And you don’t need to kill the rat as it will automatically die,” the parliamentarian continued in a scarcely veiled hint at the minister, who has invited criticism from his party members for the alleged favour he received from Artha Tatwa (AT) chit fund firm.

On the day Dasburma was shown black flags in Puri while on his way to inaugurate an Aahar centre in the holy city, Pradhan said those who are in positions of power should respect public opinion for the good of society. Citing the example of Lord Ram, Pradhan had said he had to banish Sita despite knowing that she was pure.

“Though Dasburma claims innocence, the chief minister will take a call on the issue,” the MP said.

Incidentally, the MP was the third leader after parliamentarian Bhartruhari Mahtab and senior leader Damodar Rout indirectly supported the Opposition demand for the ouster of Dasburma on the issue.

When asked to comment on the matter, the irrepressible Rout had said, “Those who are in public life should try to protect their dignity.”

Earlier, Mahatab, the leader of the BJD Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha, had also supported the demand for the minister’s resignation by saying the Opposition demand for his resignation was “a good suggestion.”

Now that the party leaders have started speaking up against the minister, Satapathy’s statement today has compounded the problem for Dasburma, who is under a concerted attack from Congress and BJP. While the BJP has threatened to take to the streets if Dasburma does not put in his papers, Congress has already announced its decision to hold a demonstration in Bhubaneswar over the issue on April 26, the day the second phase of the budget session of the Assembly begins.

Meanwhile, in a damage control exercise on Friday’s development, party spokesperson Amar Satapathy said all the opinions of the leaders are personal.

“Everybody is free to give his/her personal opinion on any subject and the party has nothing to do with it. The opinions won’t affect the party’s image,” he stated.