The Biju Janata Dal Wednesday suspended its Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda from the party’s primary membership, accusing him of “conflict of interest” and “anti-party activities” aimed at weakening Odisha’sruling party.
Panda tweeted: “I’m shocked at this news. Very very sad @Naveen_Odisha didn’t see thru the conspiracy agnst me led by an IAS ofcr now controlling the party.” He added: “I vehemently deny the allegations agnst me, they are entirely false & baseless.” The MP said he would “pray to Jagannath for guidance”.
In a two-page release, the BJD wrote about a conflict of interest matter back to 2014 when Panda, the MP from Kendrapara, had told the party he was “desirous of becoming the Chairman of Standing Committee on Finance in the Lok Sabha”.
According to the release, Panda told the party that as the BJD was the fourth largest party in the House, he may not be favoured. “However, if he is nominated, he stated he would be able to lobby and get it,” the party release said.
The release then mentioned that Panda was the vice-chairman of IMFA, “a company which is into mining, ferro alloys and power in Odisha”. The party said that in 2014, Panda drew an “annual salary and allowance of Rs. One crore,forty five lakhs, twenty seven thousand, seven hundred and forty seven and there has been a huge loan waiver running into thousands of crores to IMFA (previously ICCL) which is still a subject matter of debate”.
*I’m shocked at this news
*Very very sad @Naveen_Odisha didn’t see thru the conspiracy agnst me led by an IAS ofcr now controlling th party
*I vehemently deny the allegations agnst me, they are entirely false & baseless
*I will pray to Jagannath for guidance b4 i respond further
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) January 24, 2018
The letter said the party apprehended “serious conflict of interest” and “refused to nominate Shri Baijayant Panda for the Chairmanship of the Lok Sabha Standing Committee”. The BJD letter, signed by party vice-president Surjya Narayan Patro, said that after this, Panda has been “directly and indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening BJD, whether it is the Parliament, State, constituency or media space”. It said “no opportunity was missed by Shri Panda to criticize BJP and eulogise the opposition”. The release also said that Panda’s claim of being a BJD founder member was “totally false”.
The party accused Panda of not campaigning for the party during the PRI (rural) elections and indulging in “anti-party activities supporting opposition candidates”. The release said that because of all this, party president Naveen Patnaik “has suspended Shri Baijayant Panda from primary membership of BJD with immediate effect”.
On Wednesday night, The Indian Express asked Panda about the standing committee and the party’s charge against him. Panda said the charge was “trumped up and entirely false”. He refused to comment further and referred to his tweets as the response.