The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was without a leader in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Wednesday. The post is now vacant following the resignation of dissident MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra on August 4. A senior BJD Rajya Sabha member said that no communication has so far been received from the party president about the successor of Mohapatra.
Sources said either BJD whip in Rajya Sabha Mangala Kissan or Sashi Bhusan Behera is likely to take over as the leader of the regional outfit’s parliamentary group in the Upper House. A senior BJD leader said that the leader will be elected by Thursday.
“I have submitted my resignation letter to the chairman of Rajya Sabha on Saturday morning,” Mohapatra had told this paper on his return from New Delhi. Mohapatra said he resigned because of the breakdown of communication between him and BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The leader of a parliamentary group and the party president need to communicate on a daily basis on the party’s stand on bills and other matters, he had said and added that when communication has broken down, there is no point in continuing in the post.
Mohapatra was suspended from the party along with two BJD MLAs on June 1 in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt against Naveen Patnaik on May 29. Mohapatra was accused of having engineered the coup attempt to topple Naveen’s Government when he was out of the country.
After the abortive attempt to remove him as the Chief Minister, Naveen has so far taken action against 38 leaders, including eight ministers considered to be Pyari loyalists.
Besides the eight ministers, four corporation heads and 24 chiefs of cooperative bodies, who had been appointed at Mohapatra’s recommendation, have been dropped so far.