Dama stirs up another controversy

Bhubaneswar: The unruliness during the BJD’s padyatra and the statement of senior party leader Damodar Rout against the party leaders has given the opposition a shot in the arm.

While Rout’s statement has put the ruling party in a tight leash, BJD spokesperson Pratap Jena on Monday came up with a clarification.

“Despite being the vice-president of the party, most of his statements, he has made earlier, have been personal and not accepted as the statement of the party”, Jena told the media persons here.

“I have no grouses if the party and the government run as per the opinion of Jena. Moreover, I am not the spokesperson of the government. Have I ever told him (Jena) to accept my statement? It does not matter whether he accepts my opinion or not. But the people are accepting my opinion,” Rout pointed out.

In his reaction, senior Congress leader and former president of the Odisha Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik said being the senior leader and the vice president of the BJD, Rout’s statement might be true.

“While a senior minister claims that he has said nothing wrong, the party spokesperson says the other thing. Is it not infighting?,” he asked.

BJP state president KV Singhdeo said the BJD is no more under the control of the chief minister as everyone in the party are trying to work out their own agenda.

“The people of Odisha had been witnessing this drama of the BJD since last 15 years which is now at the closing stage”, he added.

It may be recalled that the Panchayati Raj and Law minister Arun Sahu was shown black flags during the padyatra in Bhawanipatna on October 2.

While the BJD later had claimed that the black flags were shown by the Congress workers, Rout, however, had told the media that it was the BJD workers who had shown the black flags to Sahu.