Revolt brewing in BJD as Patnaik tours London

Odisha capital late on Tuesday night here witnessed hectic political activities with Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, considered second in command in the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), virtually raising a banner of revolt against the party president and the state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Significantly, the development has come at a time when Patnaik is on an official trip to London. He is scheduled to arrive here on June 2. However, if sources close to the chief minister are to be believed, Patnaik  may cut short his tour and return to the state capital.

Differences cropped up between Patnaik and Mohapatra a few days back, reportedly over the party maters. For the last few days the BJD chief had been ignoring the senior Rajya Sabha MP who was virtually functioning as a mentor to the chief minister for almost a decade now.

The revolt came to light on Tuesday evening when Mohapatra called the BJDMLAs close to his residence at Sahid Nagar area of the city for a closed door consultation. Nearly 25 MLA including three ministers in Patnaik’s council of minister attended the meeting. The state Deputy Speaker S Marandi was also present at the meeting.

The three ministers who attended the meeting included Transport Minister Sanjeev Sahu, Urban Development Minister Sarada Nayak and Woman and Child Development Minister Anjali Behera.

Those who attended the meeting refused to divulge anything except Prabhat Biswal, a BJDMLA from coastal Cuttack district, who acknowledged that there was a “problem” in the party and that Mohapatra had called all of them to discuss the matter.

The party MLAs and ministers supporting Patnaik also held a separate meeting at a secret venue in the capital. The Biju Janata Dal  strength in the 147 Odisha Assembly is 103.

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