The Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) of Pyarimohan Mohapatra will kick off its membership drive in November after completion of the process by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as the members will mostly be drawn from the regional outfit. The BJD will complete its drive on October 31.
The Morcha is currently busy with the preparations for its October 28 rally in Bhubaneswar while plans are afoot for five more rallies across the State in the next three months.
Sources said second-tier leaders and grassroot-level workers of the regional outfit have already started approaching the Morcha. Morcha leaders are, however, trying to keep under wraps its links with MLAs and other senior leaders of the BJD. Pyari also declined a question in this regard during his October 19 Press conference. “At present, no MLA is openly supporting the Morcha,” he had said.
Supporters of Pyari in BJD in different areas are reportedly lying low fearing disciplinary action from party president. Jagneswar Babu, the convener and chief spokesperson of the Morcha, who was a general secretary in BJD, has already been suspended.
To counter Pyari’s influence on party workers, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently visited several districts including Koraput, Ganjam, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur, Boudh and Kandhamal. Besides inaugurating projects, Naveen also met local leaders and workers. Ministers and MLAs have also been asked to ensure that BJD workers from their areas do not attend the October 28 rally.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the Chief Minister to expel Pyari from BJD. “After directly challenging the leadership of Naveen Patnaik, he (Pyari) should be expelled from the party or else it will lead to more indiscipline in the coming days,” a senior leader said.
Pyari had challenged Naveen’s leadership and said, “He is no longer the president of BJD since July 10, 2010 according to the amended constitution of the party as no meeting of the state executive has been convened for the last two years and nine months.”