Rebel BJD leader forms Odisha Jana Morcha

Bhubaneswar, Oct 1: Dissident Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra has launched the Odisha Jana Morcha, a political forum to establish internal democracy in the state’s ruling party, a forum leader said Monday.

“The forum will work to establish internal democracy and protect the rights of the workers in the party,” Morcha spokesperson Jagneswar Babu told IANS.

Mohapatra, who is a Rajya Sabha member, has been Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s non-official advisor for over a decade.

He was suspended from the party after he allegedly plotted a political coup to unseat Patnaik from power. The alleged unsuccessful coup May 29 had forced Patnaik to return from Britain where he had gone on an official tour.

Mohapatra will announce more details about the new forum Oct 19, said Babu, adding that the new outfit is a forum inside the BJD and will work for greater democracy within.

While opposition parties see the developement as an outcome of the infighting in ruling BJD, a senior BJD leader said the forum will not have any impact on the popularity of the BJD.

“If he (Mohapatra) has launched the forum to help the people of the state, it is welcome,” state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said. “The formation of a morcha within the BJD demonstrates that not all is well in the ruling party.”

“This will give a push to the disintegration of the BJD,” Jual Oram, chief of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told IANS.