Chief minister Naveen Patnaik finally got over his tolerance threshold and suspended the rebel MP Baijayant Panda (alias Jay Panda) from the BJD’s primary membership.
Panda was axed for his anti-party activities. A source at the BJD said, Panda’s frequent outbursts against the functioning of the Chief Minister’s office triggered the decision.
Yet, Panda’s first reaction to his party boss’ step seemed shocking. “I’m shocked at this news. Very very sad @Naveen_Odisha didn’t see through the conspiracy against me led by an IAS officer now controlling the party. I vehemently deny the allegations against me; they are entirely false & baseless. I will pray to Jagannath for guidance before I respond further”, Panda tweeted.
Food supplies Minister and senior party leader S N Patro announced that CM and BJD president Naveen Patnaik had decided to suspend Baijayant Panda for ‘directly or indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening the party, whether it is the Parliament state, constituency or media space’.
The party release stated that as IMFA’s vice-chairman, Panda has withdrawn an annual salary and allowances of Rs 1.45 crore in 2014 and that his company has had received a huge loan waiver earlier which is still a matter of debate.
Apprehending serious conflict of interest which would have compromised the interests of the state and the country, the BJD leadership refused to nominate Baijayant Panda as the Chairman of the Lok Sabha Standing Committee. “After this, Panda has been directly and indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening BJD. He also missed no opportunity of eulogising the Opposition. His claims of being the founder member of BJD are totally false”, the BJD release stated.
The BJD release further stated that Panda did not campaign for the party candidates during the Panchayat elections and indulged in anti-party activities by supporting Opposition candidates.