Debating India


Biju Dal in celebration mode

Tuesday 26 December 2006, by DAS*Prafulla

Party turns nine today Naveen Patnaik has been able to keep his detractors in the party at bay

BHUBANESWAR: It’s celebration time for the ruling Biju Janatal Dal which turns nine on Tuesday. A series of functions have been planned to mark the occasion. But a section of its leaders are not happy that the party was drifting away from the ideals of the late Biju Patnaik.

Although the party inherited the Biju legacy and thrived on it since its birth in December 1997, it has been losing the close aides of the late Janata Dal stalwart.

BJD has been in power since its inception in December 1997, and ruling the State since March 2000 along with its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party.

Party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been able to keep his detractors in the party at bay by either by ensuring their exit from the party or by not allotting them a berth in his Council of Ministers or a key post in the party organisation.

`Naveen brigade’

Mr. Patnaik, however, has succeeded in keeping the hopes alive among the people at large by promising to realise Biju Babu’s dream of building Orissa as a developed State.

But the party has been losing its senior leaders, thereby slowly becoming a Naveen-brigade.

Bijay Mohapatra, a close associate of the late Biju Patnaik and a founder member of BJD, was expelled from the party. To quit the outfit were two other founder members - former Union Minister Dillip Ray and former Finance Minister Ramakrushna Patnaik.


Some associates of late Biju Patnaik, who were still continuing in the party, are now an unhappy lot. Many of these leaders have been sidelined by the Naveen-loyalists who were having a major say in the party.

The leaders who were unhappy with the party are of two types - one who felt the party was committing a blunder by continuing its association with the BJP and the other who feel neglected.

``Biju Babu had a great love for secular ideas, but unfortunately our party has not reacted to BJP’s latest stand of reviving its Hindutva card. BJD is shifting away from Biju Patnaik’s ideals,’’ a senior leader of the party said.

Another leader complained that the Chief Minister had virtually left the organisation to be managed by a handful of people who were `political novices’. ``There is no doubt that Mr. Patnaik continues to enjoy people’s support, but he should not allow the party lose its base and its organisational strength,’’ the leader said.

See online : The Hindu

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