New political outfit still a distant dream in Odisha

There has been widespread speculation in Odisha that the leaders who had been ousted from the ruling BJD over the past 18 years are planning to form a new political outfit before the coming elections. But going by the mood, it may remain a distant dream.

The speculation about formation of an outfit had gained momentum after senior BJD legislator from Paradip Damodar Rout was expelled from the party on Wednesday last.

Mr. Rout was expelled in the wake of his allegations of irregularities in various State government departments and schemes which had evoked strong criticism from party workers.

Lok Sabha MP from the Kendrapara constituency Baijayant Panda, who had resigned from the BJD in May this year, had met Mr. Rout at his residence a day after his expulsion from the party.

Panda-Rout meeting

Mr. Panda’s meeting with Mr. Rout added to the speculation that all those who had been ousted from the ruling party may get-together in their efforts to take on the Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik.

The Kendrapara MP had been suspended from the primary membership of the BJD for “anti-party” activities in January. Although an impression had been created that he may join the BJP soon, he has not done so till date.

Mr. Rout, who had been sacked from the Ministry by Mr. Patnaik in December last year in the wake of his derogatory remarks against the Brahmin community, has been crying foul over his dismissal alleging that the BJD president was getting rid of his father Biju Patnaik’s loyalists one by one.

He has said that he will join the Biju loyalists who were outside the BJD, including former Minister Bijoy Mohapatra, BJP legislator Dilip Ray and Mr. Panda, if they form a new political party.

Mr. Patnaik, however, sees no threat from the ousted leaders. “Mr. Rout has always been making irresponsible statements and his allegations are ridiculous.”

“If they are to form a political party, that’s their business. It will not have any impact in the State,” Mr. Patnaik has said.

Political analysts are also sceptical about the proposed party. They feel that formation of a new party in the name of Biju Patnaik, as Mr. Rout suggests, may not be possible.

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