Intra-party tension simmering within BJD

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of 2019 polls, intra-party feud within BJD has become a major headache for party chief Naveen Patnaik, people with the knowledge of the matter said.

It is believed that rising discontent between BJD legislators and ticket aspirants is creating a rift within the party.

In Chandbali of Bhadrak district, legislator Byomakesh Ray and block president Pratap Dhal held parallel meetings in opposition of each other. While Ray organized a meeting of samiti members and sarpanches of 36 panchayats seeking removal of Dhal, the block president held a meeting at the BJD party office.

When asked about such confrontation, Ray refused and avoided media.  On the other hand, Dhal said, “By introducing young leaders, the party president wants to strengthen the party. I have full faith on the party leadership. I was not invited to the meeting which was attended by Ray.”

Similarly, conflict between Athagarh legislator Ranendra Pratap Swain and party leader Abhaya Barik recently came to fore. While a block office gherao programme was being held under the leadership of Barik, three bombs were hurled during the protest prompting him to allege that supporters of Swain were involved in the incident.

Barik stated, “MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain is running an autocratic rule and is using the local BDO as a puppet. We oppose his involvement in corruption as well.”

Whereas lending support to the legislator, BJD Athagarh block president, Rabindra Nath Rout said, “Barik is trying to mislead people by staging the bomb hurling plot. As agent of Opposition parties, they hurled bombs to exert influence.”

Similar friction can be observed in other Assembly constituencies as well. Recently supporters of the Daspalla legislator and its opposing group from the party clashed during the Mahanadi Suraksha Abhiyan in Nayagarh.

BJD spokesperson, Amar Satpathy said, “The party chief will take a final call despite rising number of aspirants. Even any issues exist, he will resolve them.”