The gloves were off on both sides. Reviving the moments of May 29 ‘palace coup’ bid, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and his detractor Pyarimohan Mohapatra on Friday stepped up their attacks on each other, signalling the shape of things to come.
Formally launching the Odisha Jana Morcha, Pyari claimed he is still in the BJD and contested Naveen as BJD president. For his part, the Chief Minister, without naming anyone, called his detractors ‘backstabbers’ out to murder democracy.
Pyari called his suspension from the party illegal.
“He (Naveen) has lost the right to remain president of BJD since July 10, 2010 according to the constitution of the party...He is unfit for the post of president,” Pyari told mediapersons.
“As Naveen ceased to be president of the party since July 2010, how can he suspend me in June, 2012?” Pyari sought to justify. In fact, he said no formal letter has been received by him as yet.
A caucus has developed in the party, Pyari charged, saying that they are still in the BJD and would work for inner-party democracy.
To a question, Pyari, however, said he would talk to Naveen if the latter wished so.
But far from talks, Naveen was in a belligerent mood at his party’s ‘Maha Samabesh’ in Berhampur. “Some people are trying to stab me in the back and murder democracy,” he said.
And to strike an emotional chord with the people, Naveen said, for him, the people of Odisha are important. “It is immaterial for me who is with me and who is not. For me, the four crore people of Odisha are important. I want to work for them.”
Turning a bit philosophical, Naveen said, “I may be in power or not but I will continue to work for the people of the State. I will work to achieve the dreams of Biju Babu till the end of my life.”
After the May 29 coup attempt when Naveen was away in London, several ministers were axed and MLAs penalised. The BJD chief went step by step ‘cleansing’ the party of Pyari loyalists. Since then, the cold war has been raging between Naveen and Pyari leading to the formation of the morcha.