Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 2:
A day after questioning BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik’s decision to suspend Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy from the party after his arrest by the CBI in connection with the Odisha chit fund scam, Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahatab today sought to do some damage control saying he ‘stands by the decision of the party’.
“Some press reports have misquoted me and have stated that I have challenged the decision of the party, which is not true. President of our party has the final say and I stand by the decision of the party,” Mahtab said in press release this evening.
Mahatab, it may be noted, had described Tripathy’s suspension as ‘unjustified’ yesterday.
The soft spoken Cuttack MP obviously sensed trouble after chief BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy chided him for going public on the matter earlier in the day.
“Everybody is entitled to his view. But once the party has taken a decision, any contrary view should be expressed only in the party forum and not in the media,” Satpathy had said in the clearest possible indication of the party supremo’s disapproval of Mahatab’s defence of the tainted leader.
Quick to take the hint, Mahatab, apart from resorting to every politician’s stock refrain of being ‘misquoted’, sought to give a sentimental spin on his statement yesterday.
“The arrest of Pravat Tripathy by the CBI had disturbed me and all my supporters. The manner in which he is being treated has put all of us in distress and whatever view I have expressed should be seen in this context, purely from a humanitarian point of view. I hope he ( Tripathy) will come out clean,” Mahatab said in his statement.
It is not clear, however, who exactly he had in mind when he said ‘the manner in which he is being treated’.
Given Naveen’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy to the slightest and even veiled criticism of his decision, it remains to be seen if Mahatab manages to weather the storm.