Naveen Patnaik suspends Kendrapara MP Baijayant Jay Panda from BJD for 'anti-party activities'

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has suspended Member of Parliament Baijayant Panda from Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJD) for all 'anti-party activities', media reports said.

FP Staff January 24, 2018 21:34:03 IST
Naveen Patnaik suspends Kendrapara MP Baijayant Jay Panda from BJD for 'anti-party activities'

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has suspended Kendrapara MP Baijayant Jay Panda from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with immediate effect for all 'anti-party activities', media reports said. Denying all allegations by calling them 'baseless', Panda said, "I'm deeply shocked at this news," CNN-News 18 reported.

The announcement about the suspension of Panda, who was said to be veering towards the BJP, was made by BJD vice-president and state minister SN Patro at a press conference. "Party president Naveen Patnaik has suspended Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda from the primary membership of the BJD," Patro told reporters.

According to The Times of India, Patnaik had ordered an inquiry into allegations against Panda's conduct towards BJD workers, the party's Kendrapada district president Dhruba Sahoo lodged a complaint. There were also allegations of misappropriation of MPLAD funds against him.

Earlier on Wednesday, BJD's Cuttack district observer Usha Devi, who was appointed by Patnaik to look into allegations against Panda, submitted her report, News 18 reported.

Naveen Patnaik suspends Kendrapara MP Baijayant Jay Panda from BJD for antiparty activities

File image of Kendrapara MP Baijayant Jay Panda. Twitter@PandaJay

Patro, while making the announcement, said, "Sri Panda has been directly and indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening BJD, whether it is the Parliament, state, constituency or media space, no opportunity was missed by Panda to criticise BJD and eulogise the opposition. His claims of being a founder member of BJD are totally false."

He said Panda did not campaign for BJD candidates in elections to panchayati raj institutions even in his own constituency, and indulged in "anti-party activities", supporting opposition candidates.

"That was totally against the interest of the party and its functionaries who have been responsible for sending him to Parliament four times," Patro said.

He added that Panda, who was elected to the two houses of Parliament twice each on BJD ticket, had changed after being elected to Lok Sabha in 2014.

"After 2014 elections, Panda was desirous of becoming the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance in Lok Sabha and expressed the same to the party leadership.

"He also said that BJD being the fourth largest party in the Parliament, may not be favoured with the chairmanship of the standing committee on finance. However, if he is nominated, he stated, he would be able to lobby and get it," Patro claimed. He said the party leadership did not favour him.

Patro said, Panda, as the vice-chairman of IMFA drew annual salary and allowances of Rs 1,45,27,747 in 2014.

He claimed there was a huge loan waiver running into thousands of crore of rupees to IMFA (previously ICCL) which was still a "matter of debate."

"IMFA is a company which is into mining, ferro-alloys and power in Odisha. Apprehending serious conflict of interest which would have compromised the interest of the state and the country vis-a-vis a corporate, the party leadership refused to nominate Panda for chairmanship of the Lok Sabha standing committee," Patro said. Patro said Panda was suspended by Patnaik who took into account all these issues.

According to NDTV, a rift had been brewing between Patnaik and Panda, an MP from his party and had become a matter of speculation in Odisha politics. With just 18 months to go for Assembly elections, political experts are discussing the emergence of new alliances and the potential of Panda who as articulate industrialist might play spoiler.

Earlier in May 2017, Panda was removed from the post of spokesperson of the BJD parliamentary party after he made several remarks on social media over party matters. Panda had been in the news for his newspaper articles and a series of comments on social media after Patnaik had requested senior BJD leaders not to go to social media or media on party matters.

With inputs from PTI

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