As BJD MP Baijayant Panda’s dissent against the functioning of the chief minister Naveen Patnaik grows, the question of the disgruntled MP facing stern action is also getting more serious.
Panda, known for his bold but embarrassing questions, fired another salvo when he attacked an unnamed, influential officer in the Odisha bureaucracy calling the shots and dictating terms to politicians. Though the issue is old hat, but its timing can spell trouble for the MP.
Many believe Panda is on the edge of crossing the BJD boss’ tolerance threshold. Everyone within the BJD cadre knows what a livid Patnaik can do to even the most loyal of his men. When his closest aide and one-time Man Friday Pyari Mohan Mohapatra was not spared, how could others escape the gallows?
More recently, Patnaik axing senior minister Damodar Rout corroborates that theory. The chief minister’s zero tolerance for breach of discipline is so amply known and documented in the media. So, it is just a matter of time when Panda comes to grips with Patnaik’s tantrums. But, is Panda overtly challenging Patnaik to axe him from the BJD? Party insiders have been popping this question too often without making it public. Strategically, it could be Panda’s gain if his party boss sacks him immediately. The BJP has purportedly left ajar its door for all stifled within the rival BJD. Panda’s case could be a more favoured one given his silent leanings towards the BJD. More so, as Panda retains the Parliamentary seat in case of any dismissal from his party, the voters’ sympathy is likely to be in his favour.
But, till the time we get any bolt from the blues, things can be as good or bad for the sitting MP from Kendrapara.
The chief minister himself has seemingly downplayed the trouble. “When they have no other issues, they target my office and this is nothing new. I am busy with development works of the State and people are well aware of what is going on,” said Patnaik, who is also the BJD president.
To queries whether he would seek explanation from Panda, Patnaik said whatever appropriate will be done.
While inaugurating an overhead water tank project, Panda dropped a bombshell, saying, “When an officer forgets the service code, crosses the ‘laxman rekha’, involves himself in politics, interfere in party affairs and gives shelter to those involved in the anti-people activities, one will have no respect such officer.”