That all is not well in the State BJP became more pronounced on Sunday with the rebels boycotting the State Executive Committee meeting.
All the seven legislators of the party, including Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi, senior leaders and former ministers Bijay Mohapatra, Manmohan Samal, Samir Dey, Dilip Ray, Surama Padhi and several State functionaries, including vice-presidents Golak Mohapatra and Gayatri Dash, were conspicuous by their absence.
By boycotting the meeting, the group, opposed to State president Jual Oram, sent a clear message to the central leadership that they are serious in their demand for a change of guard.? The 10-member team of the party, which recently met BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, had reportedly requested for a leadership change in the State to save the party from further blushes. Three sitting MLAs of the party __ KV Singhdeo, Jayanayaran Mishra and Pratap Sarangi __ were part of the delegation.
Singhdeo told this paper from Delhi that he had arrived in the national capital from Jaipur on Sunday after attending a marriage function on Saturday. He, however, could not intimate the party president about his non-availability due to his preoccupation, sources in the BJP said.
“I have no idea about the State Executive Committee meeting as I am not informed,” said Jayanarayan from Sambalpur. A former minister in the Naveen Patnaik Government, Jayanarayan said the party did not give any importance to elected representatives. The party gives more weightage to those leaders, who have repeatedly failed in Assembly elections, he remarked.? Admitting that the boycott was planned, a senior member of the party on the condition of anonymity said there was no point in attending party meetings where nothing substantial is discussed. Accusing Oram of? promoting factionalism, the sources said he had miserably failed to give a direction to the party which had elected him overwhelmingly.
Referring to the Delhi visit of the rebels, Oram in his presidential speech said his term would end in six months. Those, who are opposed to his leadership, will get the opportunity to elect a leader of their choice during the next party election due in November-December, he said.
Some supporters of Oram reportedly criticised the rebels for trying to infuse the Congress culture in the BJP. They urged the national leadership to take action against the leaders trying to demoralise the cadres by promoting factionalism. BJP national secretary Balbir Punj and MP and Odisha-in-charge Santosh Gangwar attended the meeting.