PARADIP: The rift in local unit of BJD became wide open on Friday after district party president and Deputy Chairman of State Planning Board Bisnu Das skipped the ‘Mahanadi Suraksha Abhiyan’ meeting here with his supporters.Das and thousands of his supporters were conspicuous by their absence during the final leg of the Mahanadi campaign which culminated at Kalinga Baliyatra ground in Paradip on the day. This resulted in a low turnout at the event and left the BJD organisers red-faced. CM Naveen Patnaik attended the meeting which was chaired by Paradip MLA Damodar Rout.
As per reports, Das, who is an arch rival of Rout, had planned to organise the event at Bhutmundai with his supporters instead of Kalinga Baliyatra ground. With an aim to strengthen his support base in view of the upcoming general elections, Das had even engaged his supporters to make the event a success.
However, BJD decided to make Kalinga Baliyatra ground the venue for the last leg of the Mahanadi campaign instead of Bhutmundei. This decision did not go down well with the supporters of Das.
Earlier on Tuesday, Das had skipped two preparatory meetings conducted by Rout for the event.
On the other hand, supporters of Das claimed that the senior BJD leader skipped the event on health grounds as he has been admitted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswer.