Senior BJD leaders hold meet to quell disquiet in party

Buzz over split among corporators after some of them meet BJP MLA Singh on his birthday
 Pratap Keshari Deb
Pratap Keshari Deb(Photo| Wikimedia Commons)

BHUBANESWAR: Amid the growing discontentment in the BJD following its shocking defeat in the recently-concluded general elections, a meeting of senior leaders and several corporators of the party was convened at the residence of Opposition deputy chief whip Pratap Keshari Deb on Wednesday.

For the first time after the poll debacle, organisational secretary of BJD Pranab Prakash Das was seen attending a party meeting at Deb’s residence. Sources said the meeting was convened to discuss the alleged attempts to divide the BJD corporators of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Though there was no official account of what transpired at the meeting, BJD corporator Amaresh Jena’s statement that attempts of ‘Vibhisana’ to divide the regional party in Bhubaneswar will not be allowed, created ripples in the political circle. “The Vibhisana has been warned,” Jena said without taking any name.

Soon after the meeting, around 24 BJD corporators met at a hotel in the city and announced that there was no difference among them. “Nobody is trying to divide the BJD corporators and no one is going to join the BJP. Former chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik is our unchallenged leader,” said another corporator Bhupesh Nayak. The corporators are stated to be loyal to former minister Ashok Panda who lost from Ekamra Assembly seat in the elections.

Differences among the BJD corporators came to the fore recently during the elections to standing committees of BMC where candidates were fielded by various factions. The dissidents were led by corporators Amaresh Jena, Biranchi Mahasupakar and Sangram Paikray who had unsuccessfully lobbied for BJD tickets in the Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife about a split among the corporators after Jena along with some others met BJP MLA Babu Singh from Ekamra segment on his birthday on Tuesday.

In another development, former Choudwar-Cuttack MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal said anti-incumbency was one of the major reasons behind BJD’s debacle in the elections which those in-charge could not read. Biswal said he had met party supremo Naveen before the polls and apprised him about the ground situation.

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