Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik opened up about the break off the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member Baijayant Panda from the party citing three reasons. Patnaik discussed all the three reasons that, according to him, resulting in strained relations between the two. Panda had joined BJP in March this year almost a year after he had resigned from BJD.
Citing the first instance, Patnaik said that he felt let down when a former Railway Minister laughed at him while he was pursuing the development of railways in Kendrapara, saying that his MP (Panda) was only concerned about the development of railway network to his mining companies. “I was pursuing the development of railways in Kendrapara. It is the only district on the coast which has no rail development. A former railway Minister laughed and said that you are pursuing the development of railway in Kendrapara but your MP (Panda) is only concerned about railway development to his mining companies”, said Patnaik.
He added that the relations between the two further weakened after Panda allegedly spread rumours about Patnaik’s health. After 2014, a number of my friends from Delhi rang up very concerned because they thought I was in bad health. But my health has always been good and I told them so. They told me that this is what Baijayant Panda was spreading. This was a shock”, he said.
The third reason that dealt the final blow to their relationship was Panda’s big political ambitions, as told by the Odisha CM. “He wanted to be Chairman of Parliamentary Finance Committee. Our party did not have sufficient numbers but he thought he would get the support of the BJP. I didn’t think it was a good idea and I didn’t support him because of the financial dealings of his company. I didn’t think this would be a great precedent”, told Patnaik.
Patnaik also raised doubts over the credibility of Panda’s companies. “Their companies have always had a shady reputation”, he said.
Baijayant Panda has denied the allegations that he spread rumours about the health of Naveen Patnaik.
BJP’s Jay Panda to ANI: I’ve never spoken about Naveen’s health. I’ve always prayed to Lord Jagannath to give him good health & long life & good sense to understand that. These conspiracy theories that the coterie have planted on him are ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/O9rFosfJyd
— ANI (@ANI) April 21, 2019
He said that he never spoke about Odisha CM’s health. He asserted that these conspiracy theories are ridiculous, and these have been planted by the coterie on Naveen Patnaik.
Baijayant Panda had resigned from BJD and the post of MP in June last year after he was removed from the post of party’s spokesperson and later suspended from the party. He joined the BJP in March this year and was later appointed the Vice President of the BJP.