Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought an explanation from a senior BJD MP for allegedly saying that some party leaders who were dropped from the ministry last month were thieves.
MP Tathagata Satpathy, son of former CM Nandini Satpathy, had reportedly said on Wednesday, “I am not siding with any party. Congress party members are thieves, BJP party members are competing with them as thieves. We as a party are no less. Naveenbabu ousted some of the thieves recently, like Debi Mishra. But what can the party supremo do? If he sacks the thieves, more than half of the party members will be out.”
He was addressing a meeting in his home district of Dhenkanal.
After former minister Mishra met Patnaik to protest against Satpathy’s remarks, the CM on Thursday asked the MP to explain his words.
“I have given a great deal of important political work to certain leaders of our party. Those who have quit the state cabinet have been given important party responsibilities. Nobody should construe it otherwise. What has been said is not good,” Patnaik said.
Mishra was among 10 ministers who were dropped from Patnaik’s ministry a month ago following the BJD’s poor performance in the panchayat polls in February.
Saying he was hurt by Satpathy’s comments, Mishra added, “Satpathy and I never crossed each other’s boundaries. This remark has come without any context. I don’t understand his intention to insult me in public. I have met the party chief and am waiting for his course of action.”
The latest rumblings within the BJD come soon after eggs were thrown at Kendrapara Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda, allegedly at the behest of Health Minister Pratap Jena, in Mahanga area of Cuttack last week. Panda later tweeted about how the party was run by some bureaucrats.
Congress and BJP leaders, meanwhile, said Satpathy was speaking the truth. Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati said the MP retained the fighting spirit of his mother Nandini Satpathy. “He has the fighting spirit to point out the number of thieves in his own party,” he said.
BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said Patnaik should say who the BJD leaders who had robbed Odisha were.
Satpathy’s office in a series of tweets said, “Him dropping ministers from state cabinet clear indication. My constituents accept, appreciate & support stand of CM Naveen Patnaik.
“Naveen is a clean leader. Doesn’t tolerate anti-people acts even within BJD.”