Bhubaneshwar, May 28 (IANS): Months after his suspension, BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda, who had often praised the Modi government and questioned his own party’s leadership, quit the Biju Janata Dal on Monday, citing personal humiliation and alleging that the party has deviated from the ideals of its founder, the late Biju Patnaik.
“It’s with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the politics into which our BJD has descended,” said Panda, representing Kendrapara in Odisha, in a three-page letter to Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik.
He said that although things have been going from bad to worse for the past four years, it has “plumbed the absolute depths of inhumanity” when neither you nor anyone from the BJD turned up to pay their last respects to my father Dr Banshidhar Panda, who as everyone knows was a very close friend, supporter, and associate of Biju (Patnaik) uncle for many decades.
Senior Panda, a noted Odia industrialist, passed away on May 22 at the age of 87. “In stark contrast, thousands of well wishers came to pay last respects, including senior leaders of all other political parties,” the four-time parliamentarian said. “I was heartbroken when several BJD collegues conveyed that hey had been restrained from coming to pay their last respects to the departed soul. That the BJD does not want me anymore, and in fact wants me out, is now irrefutably clear.
“I have stoically borne many humiliations over the past four years, but this is the last straw. It is now beyond my self respect to continue to be associated with the party in an atmosphere as mean minded as this,” he said. He also said that he would convey his decision to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan soon.
Panda, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014, was earlier a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2000. He was suspended from the BJD for anti-party activities in January. In his letter, Panda also recalled how he was humiliated by the party leaders after he raised the issue of party deviating from the principles of “humility and transparency” and said that he was facing internal conspiracy. “In fact as you would recall, from 2014 onwards I had several times privately brought to your attention the party’s deviation from its original philosophy of humility and transparency, as well as the hurdles I was facing due to an internal conspiracy against me.”
He said that he did not make his views public in the newspaper until after “you (Naveen Patnaik) yourself gave a public call for introspection after the Panchayat elections last year (2017)”. “Only then did I write a column in the Samaja newspaper, doing just that, an introspection recalling the party’s original strengths, the deviation into goondaism and corruption, and suggesting the necessary corrective steps,” he said. He said that after his article in a newspaper he was viciously targetted, including being physically assaulted with stones, bricks and eggs in May 2017.
“I was extremely saddened that even (then) you did not bother to call or inquire about my health and safety, nor even when we met several times thereafter at party forums,” he said. He also cited the “unceasing humiliations” he had faced since 2014 as being boycotted by party members at constituency review meetings “under instructions from above”.
He said he faced open threats of violence by some BJD members via press conferences, actual instances of violence following these threats, false cases, fake allegations of anti-party activities. Kangaroo court inquiries by tainted personalities were carried out “that too concluded within two days and without my being formally informed of the charges or given a chance to respond, and finally being suspended from the party by such dubious means”.