BJD discord: Jay Panda respects ‘punishment’ if it welfares party

New Delhi [India], may 13 : Accepting his party president Naveen Patnaik's prerogative of removing him from the post of party spokesperson, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Jay Panda on Saturday said if the step is for the party's betterment then he respects it.

Panda said his intention is only to heal the party, adding that after the panchayat elections, Patnaik had said that they needed to do introspection.

"In the process, if I am to get a punishment and the party corrects some of its problems, then I am prepared to face that punishment...As I said, it is the party president's prerogative and I respect it.

If he feels that is what is best for party. If my being removed from the post of spokesperson is good for the party then I respect it," Panda told ANI.

Supporting his argument, Panda said that even the Parliamentary floor leader has been quite outspoken about the same, adding that there is a lot of muttering going on within the party.

"Naveen himself had said in public for the need for introspection. As far as speaking in party forums, whichever forums are functioning, we are speaking there. For example, the parliamentary party meet took place last month when the party president came and participated, there also I have very frankly spoken.

It is not just me, but others also. The Parliamentary floor leader has also been much more outspoken than me," he said. Giving clarification in regard to his article wherein he had talked about the problems the party is facing, the BJD leader said it was only written with the intention of healing the party as he has been with it since its founding day 20 years back.

"I had written this article in a very frank manner to do introspection, to point out because I am one of those very few people who was there with the founder president 20 years ago when we founded the party.

The party has succeeded tremendously over the past 20 years, but in recent situation I thought it was important for the party leader to understand.

So, that is why I had written that article," he said. Responding to a poser on whether he would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Panda said he has a deep connection with his party and he is only trying to be the conscience keeper for the party to find its way.

"I am trying for my party to heal itself. The BJD is a party with which I have deep connection right from the founding day. I am trying to be the conscience keeper for the party to find its way," he said. With two senior leaders of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alarm bells have started ringing within the party as Panda on Tuesday said that the ouster reflected a larger resentment among the party cadres and called for immediate attention.

"One gone yesterday, another today. Yet when I cautioned last week, was contradicted. Now large sections unrepresented, resentment everywhr (sic)," Panda tweeted. His reaction came after two senior members of the BJD - Jayaram Pangi and Amar Nayak - joined the BJP.

Both leaders decided to join the BJP after the BJD suffered a humiliating loss in the recently concluded Panchayat elections.

Reports indicate that a section of BJD leaders were inclined to split the party to join the BJP. Earlier, Pradhan said the BJP would welcome "clean and strong" leaders from other parties if they showed commitment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We want to strengthen our party. Whoever is committed to the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and party president Amit Shah are welcome to join us.

We will welcome clean and strong leaders," Pradhan told reporters here. While Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik blamed the BJP for fuelling such "false" reports, the BJP instead blamed the internal discord within the regional party and maintained it had no role in it.

The 2017 Panchayat elections conducted for 846 Zilla Parishad seats saw the BJD winning 473 seats and the BJP winning 297.

The election results forced Naveen Patnaik-led BJD to announce a massive Cabinet reshuffle. As many as 12 ministers were inducted in the Cabinet and 10 ministers were shown the door..

Source: ANI