- Jay Panda is MP from Naveen Patnaik's BJD
- Dismisses party colleague's allegation of trying to split the party
- Chief Minister asked us to introspect, he says, about critical column
On Twitter today, Mr Panda, who is a member of parliament, tweeted that his opinion piece follows the Chief Minister's recent diktat -to introspect - after the BJP emerged as the surprise runner up in local elections across Odisha.
"My piece is as a conscience keeper of the party in the spirit that Naveen Patnaik had asked us to introspect last month," said Mr Panda to NDTV today about his opinion piece, in which he states that his party's considerable decline in recent local body elections across the state "should have been no surprise." The Biju Janata Dal or BJD lost nearly 200 seats; the BJP surged.
The 53-year-old who owns a large conglomerate with interests in mining, power and real estate, says "widespread corruption and sheltering of powerful people committing criminal acts" are allegations that ring true in the coastal state and that "other parties are gaining ground because of their dynamic new leadership."
The indirect compliment to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes as Mr Panda's colleague, Tathagata Satpathy, claimed on Twitter that the BJP, in collusion with "one MP", is aiming to split the BJD in Odisha after which it will call for early elections (the state is currently scheduled to vote in 2019).
Mr Panda, asked by Twitter users to comment on whether he is the unnamed MP, offered a quick takedown of Mr Satpathy.
He speaks w/ expertise, having once been suspended from BJD & joined another party. I don't have such experience, so will defer to his https://t.co/rb0TWckViZ— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) March 27, 2017
Mr Patnaik is serving his fourth term as Chief Minister; he ended a long alliance with the BJP ahead of the 2009 election.
The BJP has scheduled its national convention next month in Odisha. Top leaders including the PM and party chief Amit Shah will be present. Mr Satpathy claims on Twitter that the intention is "to put pressure to make state govt defunct. (sic)"
Read the full text of the column here: