Bhubaneswar: Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in Odisha today targeted the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the expulsion of Khandapada MLA and Sambad Editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik from the ruling party.
The Opposition parties alleged that the ruling BJD initiated vindictive action against the Khandapada legislator after he raised certain questions regarding the governance model in Odisha through his editorials in the largest circulated Odia daily recently.
They also alleged that Soumya Ranjan’s expulsion has confirmed the absence of intra-party democracy in BJD.
“The BJD leadership has not issued any show-cause notice on the Khandapada MLA. The disciplinary committee of the ruling party has not passed any resolution for the expulsion of the Khandapada legislator. The entire episode exposes the undemocratic way of functioning of the BJD in Odisha. We will raise the issue in Assembly,” said senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Jaya Narayan Mishra.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Sarat Pattanayak too came down heavily on the BJD over expulsion of the Khandapada MLA.
The Khandapada legislator had raised certain vital questions regarding the ‘Officer Raj’ in Odisha through his editorials. The BJD leadership has removed the Khandapada MLA from the party instead of giving any satisfactory answers to those questions.
“The Congress party as well as the people of Odisha will not tolerate any ‘Officer Raj’ in Odisha. Now, the BJD leadership is saying that the Khandapada MLA was involved in anti-party activities. What was the Home department, which directly comes under the Chief Minister, doing when they inducted Soumya Ranjan into BJD four years ago? This is a clear case of political vendetta,” said the OPCC president.
Several BJD Ministers, MLAs and leaders have been booked in cases of crime including chit fund scam, murder, rape and cheating. However, the leadership of the ruling party is doing everything to shield these accused persons, added the OPCC president.
Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray alleged that the BJD government has framed the Khandapada legislator in a false case to stifle the voice of Sambad.
“The BJD government has initiated vindictive action against the Sambad Group. The ruling party has also expelled Soumya Ranjan from the party in an undemocratic manner. We will raise the issue in each and every forum, including the Assembly in the coming days,” said the Congress MLA.
Senior Congress leader Panchanan Kanungo too criticised the BJD for removing Soumya Ranjan from the party.
“Soumya babu has raised certain questions in his editorials for the betterment of BJD and Odisha as a whole. But, the ruling party expelled him by saying that he was involved in anti-people activities. This is not acceptable to the people of Odisha. The Economic Offences Wing has registered a case against Sambad Group and initiated a probe. But, the BJD leadership expelled Soumya babu without waiting for the outcome of the EOW investigation. This is nothing but political vendetta,” Kanungo said.
Former OPPC president Niranjan Patnaik, however, said the expulsion of Khandapada MLA is an internal matter of the BJD.
“The BJD leadership has every right to take decisions regarding their party matters. The people of Odisha will judge those decisions in the future,” Niranjan added.
OPCC campaign committee chief Bijay Patnaik said the whole episode has exposed the autocratic nature of the BJD leadership.
“The BJD government has initiated vindictive action against Soumya babu. It is trying to stifle the voice of Sambad. This type of action will backfire. The popularity of Sambad and Soumya babu will go up in future,” said Patnaik, a former Chief Secretary in Odisha.