Naveen encircled by conspirators, claims Pyari

Bhubaneswar: BJD MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra today claimed that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was encircled by a group of conspirators comprising ministers, parliamentarians and MLAs who were trying to topple his government. "The conspirators comprising, ministers, MPs and MLAs want to topple Patnaik in order to fulfil their vested interests," he claimed but declined to name them.

"The group of conspirators are misleading the chief minister. They feel I am the stumbling block between them and the chief minister," the BJD MP told reporters here, adding that his 12 years of `penance` in building a strong regional party seemed to have gone waste. Asked what steps he had taken to expose them, Mohapatra said, "I have already informed the chief minister about the conspirators and tried to keep them away from him.

"I have tried and am trying to protect Naveen from the conspirators. Now, I can only pray for him," an emotional Mohapatra said, admitting that he was the main advisor of the chief minister from 2000 to 2008. Mohapatra said he focused on party matters since 2008 after the BJD severed ties with electoral ally BJP in 2009.

"As a regional party, organisational strength is more important," he said, adding he was looking after the organisation, while Patnaik`s image was adding about 5 to 10 per cent of votes. His claim came a day after 33 party MLAs including three ministers met him at his residence here. However, former minister Damodar Rout claimed that Mohapatra`s `conspiracy` to topple the BJD government failed due to lack of adequate numbers.