Rift in BJD spills on to streets as party workers clash outside Naveen Niwas

Bhubaneswar: As BJD is busy finalising candidates for constituencies going to polls in the third and fourth phases, infighting within the party’s Niali unit came to fore today with supporters of an MLA clashing with followers of another ticket aspirant.

According to sources, supporters of Niali MLA Pramod Mallick staged a demonstration today in front of Naveen Niwas, the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar over candidate selection. During the demonstration, supporters of the other group demanded that the Assembly ticket should rather be given to Smrutiranjan Behera.

As followers of Behera staged a sit-in, the skirmish turned into an intense clash in front of Naveen Niwas.

Smrutiranjan Behera said, “We have been with the party through thick and thin. Even before CM Naveen assumed office, my father was the lone figure to be selected as the Zilla Parishad during the tenure of late Biju Babu. But current MLA, Mallick is embroiled in corruption as has been pointed out by the media several times before.”

Even as Mallick was not available to respond to Behera’s allegations, one of his supporters said, “We will take the matter to the notice of CM Naveen.