BJD vice-president expelled

Last Updated 20 September 2014, 19:35 IST

Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on Saturday expelled senior leader and the ruling outfit’s vice-president Prafulla Chandra Gahdai from the party.

“Ghadai is expelled from the party for anti-party activities with immediate effect,” Patnaik told reporters in the secretariat. Party spokesman Samir Das said Ghadai was sacked for his statement against the BJD and its leadership in a local newspaper.

“He made some highly irresponsible remarks in an interview to the daily. He made an attempt to defame and belittle the party and its leader in the public eye. Our leaders and workers from across the state had been demanding action against him. We welcome the party president’s decision” Das, a senior party legislator, said.

In the interview, Ghadai had charged Patnaik with being influenced by a coterie and not taking action against leaders whose recent activities had severely dented the public image of the regional outfit. “He (Patnaik) is no more mentally and physically fit to take any action,” the newspaper quoted Ghadai as saying. 

The senior leader, who was also a former state finance minister, however, insisted that he had not given any interview to the local daily and the remarks he made was off the record. 

On his expulsion, he said it was the prerogative of the party president. “I was not indulging in any anti-party activities. It is now for the public to judge whether the action against me is correct or not. The BJD is very important to me. I will continue to work for the development of the party while remaining outside,” he said.

The development provided an opportunity to the Congress, the principal opposition party in the state, to take a dig at the BJD. “This is the beginning of the end for the BJD. The infighting will intensify further and by the next elections, the party will not be there,” said senior Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the state Assembly Narasingha Mishra.

Hours before Ghadai’s expulsion, the state capital witnessed hectic political activities with the senior leader accompanied by his legislator son, Pritiranjan Ghadai, visiting the state secretariat to meet Patnaik and explain his position.

Sources in the secretariat said that Patnaik refused to meet his senior party colleague but allowed his son to talk to him.

Ghadai, who was also a close associate of Naveen Patnaik’s father the late Biju Patnaik, was serving in Patnaik’s Cabinet  till his sacking from the ministerial post in 2012.

It was then alleged that he had extended his tacit support to the midnight coup in May, 2012 engineered by BJD rebel Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, to remove Patnaik from the chief minister’s post. 

(Published 20 September 2014, 19:35 IST)

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