The BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday suspended party general secretary Jagneswar Babu for anti-party activities.
Jagneswar is a staunch loyalist of dissident Pyarimohan Mohapatra and spokesperson of the Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM), floated by Pyari, to bring reforms in the regional outfit.
Jagneswar was the only BJD leader who had openly associated himself with Pyari by joining the OJM, which was announced on Sunday. He had invited the CM’s ire by calling his (Naveen’s) statement describing OJM as the B team of Congress as irresponsible.
Naveen’s action against Jagneswar has come as a warning to other party leaders who were toying with the idea of joining the Morcha.
“If the demand to bring reforms in the regional party by holding meetings of the block, district and State level committees is anti-party, I will continue to indulge in such activities,” Jagneswar said reacting to his suspension.
“The voice for bringing reforms in the party cannot be muzzled by such action,” he said, welcoming the suspension order.
Jagneswar, however, said he is yet to receive any communication from the party president. He had announced on behalf of Pyari on October 1 the formation of OJM and said, “the aims and objectives of the Morcha will be announced on October 19 at a meeting in Bhubaneswar.”
He had made it clear that OJM was not a separate political party, but a platform within the BJD to work for internal democracy and rights of 27 lakh party workers in the State.
Pyari and two BJD MLAs, Prabhat Biswal and Bibhuti Bhusan Balabantray, were suspended from the party on June 1 after the failed attempt on May 29 to oust Naveen from the party. Naveen had also dropped Anjali Behera and Sanjib Sahu from the ministry for their alleged role in the coup bid.
In a major reshuffle two months after the coup attempt, the CM had dropped five ministers, including the powerful finance minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei. Others dropped from the ministry included
Prafulla Samal, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Pushpendra Singhdeo and Pratap Jena.