**Bhubaneswar: ** Even though Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik effected a major reshuffle on last Sunday for the first time after three years of his retaining power consecutively for the fourth time in June, 2014, it has rather ignited a strong way of resentment among the BJD MLAs and party’s rank and file.
Dissidence reportedly erupted from the swearing-in-ceremony day here at the Raj Bahwan when party supporters of senior MLA from Sundargarh district Mangala Kisan openly expressed their dissatisfaction against the district’s non-representation in the new cabinet. Even the BJD district party functionaries threatened resigning en masse.
Similar was the case with Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi following which her woman supporters on Monday took to the streets there waving placards and posters to mark their protest and umbrage.
On Tuesday, Birmaharajpur (Subarnapur district) BJD MLA Padmanabha Behera’s supporters also took to the streets there to register their ire.
Unrepresented Kalahandi district’s Junagarh MLA and BJD spokesperson Dibya Shankar Mishra had on Monday expressed his dissatisfaction before media.
Every passing day, most of the senior BJD MLAs, be it Jajpur district or any other districts are vocal even before media voicing their discontentment.
Notably, 18 districts out of the 30 districts in Odisha have gone sans any minister in the latest ministerial council of Naveen Patnaik.
Not only the major districts of western Odisha, but also tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district, ace coastal districts like Kendrapada and Jajpur have the same problem.
Need to be mentioned that, BJP has this time astoundingly made inroads into the virtually invincible ruling BJD’s erstwhile bastions as evident from the Zilla Parishad results this year. The brewing dissident voice becoming shriller day by day seems to boomerang and spell doom on Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, feel poll pundits.
Talking to media, former minister and Bari MLA Debasis Nayak outpoured, “The link of our parivar (family) with Biju Patnaik’s parivar is pretty old since my father Chittaranjan Nayak as he was a minister in Biju Babu’s cabinet in 1960s. I’m the second generation. Today I’m a four time legislator due to the blessings of Naveen Patnaik. But, I had been to Jajpur and people volleyed upon me different questions. Be it Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Kendrapada, Kalahandi etc where the party has suffered in the panchayat polls have now been headless. When we’re concerned about revamping our party organisation, there ought to have been one (minister). Chief Minister better knows about the rationale behind recent cabinet reshuffle.”
Birmaharajpur MLA Padmanabha Behera commented, “The party workers of every assembly segment wish that their respective MLA should be a minister. It’s my sixth stint as MLA and MP. We have the experience of taking care after the party organisational issues in the capacity of a minister. Obviously, the party workers are expressing their views like this. Efforts will be made to appease the unrepresented districts by other means.”
Junagarh MLA and BJD spokesperson Dibya Shankar Mishra said, “The workers obviously wish to see that their leader gets a ministerial portfolio or a prestigious post. That’s why the workers sulk. For instance, western Odisha where there is no representation of minister, strong leadership ought to be there for rejuvenating the party organisation. The left out MLAs should be rehabilitated in the corporations or other government posts.”
On the contrary, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb remarked, “Whatever is going on now is a usual process. Such reactions would have also erupted in my assembly constituency had I been an MLA now. Every MLA seeks to be a minister. There’s nothing wrong in it or any objection to such reactions. But the harsh reality is that, out of the elected 117 MLAs, only 21 can be ministers. However, our party has indeed taken cognisance of it. Also our party president will definitely take it into serious consideration after returning for Delhi.”