Bhubaneswar: The infighting in the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) turned ugly Tuesday when party MP Baijayant Panda was hit by a stone as his supporters and some partymen pelted stones at one another in Mahanga area.
The incident happened when some partymen hurled stones and eggs at a procession led by Panda after he inaugurated a drinking water project in the area in Kendrapara district, police said. Panda was seen being hit by a stone and he sat down on the ground surrounded by his supporters. Later police escorted the MP up to a chopper. Soon his supporters pelted stones at the other partymen. Immediate police intervention controlled the situation.
“Forget stones & eggs, they can’t cow me down even if they use bullet. These MPLAD funded projects = 5.2 million litre of drinking water," Panda tweeted immediately after the incident. Panda, MP of Kendrapara, had allocated funds for the overhead water tank at Jatiparilo village under Mahanga Assembly segment represented by state’s health and family welfare minister Pratap Jena.
While local BJD leaders and minister’s supporters alleged that they were not invited to the inauguration function, Panda rejected the charge and claimed that all the local leaders, including the local MLA, were invited. “Even names of local leaders were written in the plaque," Panda told reporters. Panda blamed some “babus" (officers) for the hooliganism in the ruling BJD and hoped party president Naveen Patnaik would definitely take steps after being aware of the incident.
Panda said “I have been in the party since its inception in 1997. In the first 17 years, we had a policy against hooliganism and infighting. But things have changed in the last three years. “When some ‘babus’ sitting in AC rooms have started deciding the party activities, it has become a victim of indiscipline. This is not a good sign." Panda, who was recently removed from the post of spokesman of BJD’s parliamentary party, said, adding he had already taken up the matter of indiscipline in the party with the president.
“I have raised the issue in BJD’s parliamentary party meeting. I am sure once Naveen babu gets to know the truth, he will certainly take steps," Panda told reporters. BJD spokesman and Rajya Sabha MP P.K. Deb said “the incident is an outcome of lack of communication and misunderstanding. The party president will examine the matter."
BJD vice-president and minister S.N. Patro described the incident as a local problem. “It will be sorted out locally. The district president of the party, local MP and local MLA will resolve the matter."
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, however, came down on the ruling BJD over the attack on the MP. “There is no democracy in the state," he said. Congress leader Suresh Routray said such incidents would be explosive in the coming days as the government and the ruling party were functioning in an arbitrary manner.