Naveen Patnaik cracks the whip on rebels
indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express
BHUBANESWAR: Hardly days away from the polls, intra-party wrangling forced the BJD to crack the whip. At one go, the leadership suspended 22 partymen on Monday __ a clear indication that all is not well in the BJD. And that rebel candidates have emerged more lethal and challenging than the Opposition parties.� The tough act came on a day when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was making a whistle-stop tour of Kalahandi, Koraput and Malkangiri districts. Nine rebel candidates were suspended from Kalahandi district and five from Malkangiri district.
The Chief Minister’s recent election meetings in Kalahandi were not incident-free. Naveen had faced demonstration by Youth Congress activists at Joradubura in Karlamunda block of Kalahandi while addressing a meeting. About 30 to 40 activists tried to enter the meeting area shouting slogans and waving flags.
Incidentally, BJD’s performance in Kalahandi in the 2009 Assembly elections was lacklustre and the party leadership was quite disappointed. Against the backdrop of a BJD sweep across the State, four of the five Assembly seats then had gone to the Congress. So had the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, which was won by the Congress with a convincing margin.
Naveen has so far suspended close to 50 leaders of� his party for anti-party activities in the run-up to the panchayat polls. And indications are, many more would meet the same fate in the coming days.
However, visibly unperturbed over the party wrangling, Naveen touched many places in the KBK region. The Chief Minister campaigned at five places in Kalahandi on Monday. He also addressed a meeting at Dasmantpur in Koraput district.
Naveen touched upon the programmes launched by his Government for uplift of women. He also visited Mathili in Malkangiri district and Boipariguda, Borigumma, Kundura and Subai in Koraput district during his day-long tour. He will return to Bhubaneswar on Tuesday after campaigning at different places in Malkangiri district.
The places at which Naveen campaigned on Monday are considered to be Congress strongholds. The Chief Minister’s visit is expected to improve the chances of the BJD candidates.