Naveen clinging on to power beyond sell-by-date: Jay Panda hits back

Bhubaneswar: After CM Naveen Patnaik, in an interview to national television channel NDTV yesterday, alleged Jay Panda of spreading rumours & being in a hurry to grab power, the former parliamentarian today refuted the allegations and hit back saying that a more credible allegation could be someone clinging on to power beyond sell-by-date.

“It’s ironic that someone who has spent four terms in office and is seeking a fifth term, I think the more credible allegation could be that someone is clinging to power beyond sell-by-date,” said Panda, while being interviewed by NDTV on the allegations made by Patnaik.

On Naveen’s accusations of being a man in a hurry and wanting the former’s post, Panda said “It’s ridiculous and sad. I spent 18 years in Parliament without any government office whatsoever. I never sought it, I still don’t. I am in politics for a different set of reasons. I think I have built a track record and it’s evident in my activity in Parliament and outside of championing certain causes. I have never hankered for office.”

Asked about the coterie which has been fuelling these theories, Panda said “There is a guy called Pandian, who is an IAS officer and principal secretary. For the last five years, he has been collecting party funds, distributing party tickets and people whom he shelters are protected. There are people accused of murder, there are people accused of sheltering rapists and these people are BJD members and elected members who are given protection by him. All of Odisha knows this and the national media has not given it enough coverage which I think is sad.”

On Naveen’s clarification that he himself is in control and the allegations that bureaucracy is running the show are absurd, Panda said I don’t think anybody in Odisha buys that.

Panda also termed Naveen’s allegations of spreading rumours about the latter’s ill health as ridiculous and sad because “It is these kinds of conspiracy theories that the new coterie that has taken control of the BJD has been spreading about me. It is ridiculous that such an allegation is made, without any substantiation whatsoever.”