A day before the Odisha Jana Morcha’s (OJM) public rally, high drama took place on Saturday here with the ruling BJD leaders and activists burning the effigy of OJM chairman Pyarimohan Mohapatra alleging that “the proposed gathering is act of revolt” against the chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
The BJD women wing gheroaed the OJM office at Sahid Nagar and screamed slogans against Mr Mohapatra. A few other BJD activists allegedly attempted to ransack the vehicles parked in the premises of the OJM chief’s residence. In Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Cuttack BJD activists also held protest rallies to condemn what they described the OJM’s move to destabilise the BJD. Unperturbed, the OJM chief said the ransacking of his party office and vehicles at his residence were done at the behest of the BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik. “All the vandalism that took place today was done at the direction of chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Before leaving for New Delhi today, he (Naveen) has instructed his party people to ensure that the Sunday’s rally was not attended by a large crowd,” alleged the OJM chairman.
He added that despite the obstacles put up by the ruling party over seventy thousand people will gather in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Orissa politics is at present meandering at an interesting mode with the formation of OJM early this month. Led by suspended BJD leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra, OJM has emerged an immediate political rival of the ruling party. The rebel leader, who refuses to admit the OJM as a political entity, said the new forum was formed to establish internal democracy in the BJD and cleanse the party of “unwarranted” and “unwanted” elements. Meanwhile, the BJD vice president Damodar Rout said the OJM’s proposed rally would make no dent in the “unquestionable” and “transparent” image of the chief minister.