BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik’s decision to extend support to NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has come into question with senior party leader and Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahatab raising the issue on Sunday.
Mahatab, in a signed article in an Odia daily owned and edited by him, has questioned the decision of the Chief Minister to extend support to Kovind. He is the second MP after Tathagat Satpathy to raise the issue. An editorial on June 20 in the local daily owned and edited by Satpathy had also questioned the decision and maintained that it is likely to weaken the party as BJP is the main rival of the ruling party in Odisha.
Mahatab in his article said, question is being asked now as to why BJD, which has adopted the policy of equi-distance from BJP and Congress, announced support for the NDA Presidential candidate. “Why BJD, which has adopted the policy to maintain equi-distance from BJP and Congress for the last three years, has extended support to NDA Presidential candidate Kovind,” Mahatab wrote in his article.
The party MP wrote that the decision of the Chief Minister to extend support to Kovind after only phone call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been questioned. “Why did the Chief Minister announce the party’s support for Kovind after only one phone call from the Prime Minister,” he asked.
Mahatab said, “It has been asked why Naveen Babu could not wait till announcement of UPA Presidential candidate.” The party MP, who has been in the news for questioning different decisions of the Chief Minister through his articles in his newspaper and statements, said “Do all questions have answers? It is good that many questions remain questions.”
The MP had earlier in a signed article sparked off a controversy by pointing at the weaknesses of the ruling party’s strategies to counter a resurgent BJP in Odisha.
Mahatab is not the only MP who has criticised decisions of the Chief Minister. Besides him, party MP Baijayant Panda, in newspaper articles, had also questioned the manner in which the ruling party is being run.