- Jay Panda is MP from Odisha's ruling Biju Janata Dal
- Is a crucial point of factionalism within the party
- Eggs and stones thrown at him and his supporters today
Mr Panda's op-ed for a vernacular newspaper in March, criticizing his party and its top boss, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was succeeded by his removal as BJD spokesperson last month. The two incidents were not seen as unconnected.
Mr Panda has been accused by a BJD leader, Tathagata Satpathy, of aiming to split their party on behalf of the BJP, which has seen a surge in its popularity in Odisha. In February, the BJP placed second in local body elections across the state, replacing the Congress as the main opposition party. BJP chief Amit Shah has announced that he intends to displace the BJD in the coastal state as part of his larger plan to "Look East" and expand his party's hold significantly in states like Bengal, where it has traditionally been a fringe player.
The BJP was in alliance with Chief Minister Patnaik till the 2009 general election. The state will pick its next government in 2019.
Mr Panda and his group were attacked with stones and eggs after he launched a drinking water project in his constituency. Local leaders from the party claimed that they had not been invited to the event. Mr Panda said not only were local representatives invited, but their names were also inscribed on a plaque that marks the location of the new overheard water tank.
"I have been in the party since its inception in 1997. In the first 17 years, we had a policy against hooliganism and infighting. But things have changed in the last three years. When some Babus (officers) sitting in AC rooms have started deciding the party activities, it has become a victim of indiscipline. This is not a good sign."
He said today's violence proves the party indiscipline that he has complained about in the past to Chief Minister Patnaik.
"The incident is an outcome of lack of communication and misunderstanding. The party president will examine the matter," said a party spokesperson.