Bhubaneswar: The self-proclaimed founding member of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and industrialist turned high-profile politician, Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda has been suspended from the party for his anti-party activities, informed BJD Vice-President Surjya Narayana Patro today evening.
" Panda is the Vice Chairman of IMFA and has drawn annual salary and allowance of Rs 1 crore, forty five lakhs, twenty seven thousand, seven hundered and forty seven in 2004 and there has been a huge loan waiver running into thousands of crores of IMFA which is still a subject of matter of debate".
"I am very sad that the party president did not see through the conspiracy against me", he tweeted. "These are not good signs", he had said.
"After the 2014 elections, Panda wanted to become Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance in the Lok Sabha". The reports seem to have gone against him.
However, the recent inauguration of an overhead water tank project at Buhalo in Nischintakoili block in Cuttack district by him exposed the cold war between Jay Panda and the rest of the BJD leaders in Kendrapara. He added: "I vehemently deny the allegations agnst me, they are entirely false & baseless". "I will pray to Lord Jagannath for guidance before I respond further".
Apprehending serious conflict of interest, which would have compromised the interests of the state vis-a-vis a corporate, the BJD leadership refused to nominate Panda as the chairman of the Standing Committee, he said.
The BJD Vice President said that after 2014 elections Panda, Vice-Chairman of the Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited, wanted to become Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance in the Lok Sabha, had expressed his desire to the party leadership to become the Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Finance while stating that if nominated by the party for the same he can manage to get it by lobbying with the powers that be which would otherwise be hard despite BJD being the party with fourth largest representation in the Parliament.
With Panda raising the stink over corruption in not just mining contracts but also the Odisha chit funds investigations with CBI, this sacking of the four-time legislator from the party might be viewed as an olive branch by the rival BJP to welcome him into the saffron fold. No "opportunity" was missed by Panda "to criticise the BJD and eulogise the opposition". Earlier, he was elected to Rajya Sabha twice from BJD. It seems that the parliamentarian bore the brunt for raising voice against a non-Odia IAS officer who has been excessively interfering in political affairs of the party.
On the other hand, BJP's state unit vice president Sameer Mohanty said "Baijayant's suspension is a ploy to divert attention from the suicide of Kunduli gang rape survivor".
While CM Naveen Patnaik remains invincible politically, containing rebellion as they raise their heads through years, especially with the POSCO agitations, the current spell of differences with Panda might prove to be more durable than before.