Naveen not BJD chief, says rebel leader

Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, a Rajya Sabha member and BJD rebel, has once again publicly embarrassed Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik by insisting that the latter seized to be the party president for more than two years now.

“He seized to be the party president since July, 2010. Therefore, he has no constitutional rights to take disciplinary action against me. The BJD is not having a president now”, he told reporters here.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician, who was once known as the second in command in the BJD and was also the closest confidante of Patnaik, said after the latter’s re-election as the party president it had to be ratified by the party’s state executive which had not been done. The meeting of the state executive committee had not been convened since July, 2010.

Mohapatra, a retired IAS officer who had once served Patnaik’s father and former chief minister late Biju Patnaik as his principal secretary, was suspended from the regional outfit on June 1 this year after his alleged failed mid-night coup to topple the BJD government in the state. The attempt on the night of May 29 was made when Naveen Patnaik was on an official foreign trip.

The rebel leader, however, is yet to be expelled from the party. Mohapatra, in the meantime, has formed an organisation called Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM), which is scheduled to have its first public rally here on October 28. A few disgruntled BJD members including a former MLA Jangeswar Babu and a former Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mihir Mohanty have already joined the morcha. But not a single legislator or MP of the regional party, not even the couple of party MLAs who were suspended from the party.

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