BHUBANESWAR: Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda on Saturday refused to reveal his cards and future course of action though he did not rule out joining the BJP either.
“I am thinking of my political future and considering options by consulting people of my constituency and friends from different political parties,” Panda told a private television channel in an interview. Though he did not spell out the options, these could be joining the BJP or floating a new political outfit for which he dropped enough hints.
“Let me come to my conclusion. I am in the process of thinking it out,” he said, but added that he does not want to break the votes of any political party (BJD) to help another political party to win. He, however, did not rule out any options which included floating his own outfit. Unwilling to spell out his future course of action, Panda hinted at playing a big role in the next elections.
Panda’s political inclinations from the manner in which he profusely praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi was glaring though. “I admire Modi because of the work he is doing. Things which I have championed for years through newspaper articles like Aadhar, demonetisation, GST, he is implementing all these,” he said.
Panda maintained that there was no BJP link to his resignation from BJD. “I was immensely pained by the manner in which none from the BJD turned up to pay last respects to my father Bansidhar Panda, who had nothing to do with politics. It was sheer pettiness and mean-mindedness,” he said.
Stopping short of calling Naveen Patnaik a ‘puppet chief minister’, Panda said a coterie led by a bureaucrat is now running the government and BJD and added that an unconstitutional exercise of power is taking place.
Popular on the social media, Panda’s interview saw mixed reactions. Some saw a CM material in him. “@PandaJay who can speak good English, very mature, straightforward, articulate... yet attached to the core issues that an Odiya faces in Naveen’s Odisha...our Odisha,” said a follower.
There were criticisms too. “I just don’t understand why is he accusing a serving officer when he knows that officer can’t respond due to service rules? Some sadistic dirty politics at play here guys,” said another follower.
The MP said the attack on him near Mahanga in May, 2017 was the inflection point. For months there was no arrest and the chief minister also did not call me to inquire about my well being, he said.