Susim C Sahani / Soumya Ranjan Sahoo
8 days ago
Bhubaneswar: Kendrapada (BJD) MP Baijayant Panda is usually marked by the masses donning green kurta at public meetings, perhaps synomymous with his parent party BJD’s signature colour ‘green’.
However, an anomaly was conspicuous at Thursday’s overhead water tank inaugural function in Buhalo under Mahanga assembly segment where the self-professed loyal lieutenant of BJD was noticed putting on a saffron kurta.
Visibly elated at the hassle-free inauguration amid tight security arrangements made by the administration, virtually dissident Jay Panda perhaps for the first time was seen spitting venom publicly against his party leadership instead of taking recourse to his controversial tweets.
Going by his rejuvenated jibes and barbs as well as his political tone and tenor in his new saffron kurta avatar, speculations are rife that Panda’s switching over to the saffron party (BJP) from his green party (BJD) is a foregone conclusion.
Now the million dollar question lurks: Will Baijayant Panda’s political switch-over from BJD to BJP be that much easy and cosy?
Going by the glaring instances of senior BJP leaders Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra, who have been relegated to the back burner as odd-men-out in the party at the current helms of affairs in Odisha, it is well-known to one and all that the veteran duo (BJD’s founding members) now find themselves as minnows among a Triton like Dharmendra Pradhan.
Union Petroleum and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is the obvious blue-eyed boy of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah and he is being projected as BJP’s poster boy of Odisha.
Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra are till date a part and parcel of late Biju Patnaik’s legacy which they never deny. Despite his dare-devilry jibes against BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik (Biju Babu’s son), Jay Panda also boasts himself to be an able acolyte of the Biju legacy and also one of the founding members of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) post sad demise of Biju Babu.
If at all Baijayant Panda defects into BJP, will his fate be like that of Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra afterwards as Dharmendra Pradhan may find him an eligible contender dictating terms as Baijayant Panda is believed to be having a close rapport with PM Modi?
Senior journalist-cum-political analyst Prasanna Mohanty opined, “The way Baijayant Panda is challenging 3rd Floor (CMO), it is evident that he has made up his mind to take an extreme step. During the 18-year-long stint of Naveen Patnaik, it has been noticed that head rolls down of those who have revolted against the supremo.”
“Now the question arises on the alternative party for Baijayant Panda. Obviously he would never opt for the Congress. The only way out for him is BJP. At present, BJP in Odisha context needs a personality like Baijayant Panda for its political expansion. Panda also owns a media house. For BJP, Baijayant Panda is a necessity. But a big question arises on how far BJP be an asset for Baijayant for furthering his political career,” Mohanty commented.
However, the experienced journalist concluded, “It has been seen such converts fail in their mission in BJP as it has its own way of functioning and above all the Sangh Parivar calls the shot.”
Another senior journalist and political expert Sandeep Sahu stated, “As BJP is now on its drive to expand its support base and mass base, it is striving to woo leaders from other parties to its fold for adding organizational strength.”
“Notwithstanding that, those who don’t hail from RSS background, they have been less noticed to be at the top position of BJP ladder as well as power corridor. Even Baijayant Panda’s such disappointing fate may not be surprising as Bijoy Mohapatra and Dilip Ray are the glaring examples.”
BJD top political sources have told OMMCOM NEWS that Jay Panda is also trying to work out a compromise with his present party BJD and is trying hard to send across this message to party supremo Naveen Patnaik.
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