New Delhi: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday suspended Kendrapara MP Baijayant 'Jay' Panda from primary membership of the party for indulging in "anti-party activities".
BJD Vice President and Minister Surya Narayan Patro made the announcement at a press meet in Bhubaneswar. Patra alleged that Panda was acting against the interests of the party soon after the party refused his suggestion to propose his name for the chairmanship of the Lok Sabha Finance Standing Committee.
"Party president Naveen Patnaik has suspended Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda from the primary membership of the BJD," Patro told reporters.
According to reports, there are allegations of "monopolistic utilisation of MPLAD funds" by him.
Reacting to his dismissal from the party, Panda tweeted: "I vehemently deny the allegations agnst me, they are entirely false & baseless. I will pray to Jagannath for guidance b4 i respond further (sic)."
Panda expressed surprise that CM Naveen Patnaik did not see through the conspiracy.
In the same tweet, he wrote: "Very very sad @Naveen_Odisha didn't see thru the conspiracy agnst me led by an IAS ofcr now controlling th party (sic)."
Patro, while making the announcement, said, "Sri Panda has been directly and indirectly indulging in activities aimed at weakening BJD, whether it is the Parliament, state, constituency or media space -- no opportunity was missed by Panda to criticise BJD and eulogise the opposition. His claims of being a founder member of BJD are totally false."
He said Panda did not campaign for BJD candidates in elections to panchayati raj institutions even in his own constituency, and indulged in "anti-party activities", supporting opposition candidates.
"That was totally against the interest of the party and its functionaries who have been responsible for sending him to
Parliament four times," Patro said.
In his defence, and taking on those who blame him for misusing MPLAD funds, Panda pinned a tweet on his Twitter page that says: "@IndiaToday's ranked Kendrapada Odisha's #1 "most imprvd infrastructure" category. Pic: 1 of 52 MPLAD drinking water projcts (5.2m litres)."
Patro said, Panda, as the vice-chairman of IMFA drew annual salary and allowances of Rs 1,45,27,747 in 2014.
He claimed there was a huge loan waiver running into thousands of crore of rupees to IMFA (previously ICCL) which was still a "matter of debate."
"IMFA is a company which is into mining, ferro-alloys and power in Odisha. Apprehending serious conflict of interest which would have compromised the interest of the state and the country vis-a-vis a corporate, the party leadership refused to nominate Panda for chairmanship of the Lok Sabha standing committee," Patro said.
Earlier today, BJD's Cuttack district observer Usha Devi, who was appointed by Naveen Patnaik to probe allegations against Jay Panda, submitted her report.
There are doubts on the impartiality of the probe as many believe that the observers probing the allegations are deliberately collecting feedback from the anti-Jay Panda factions.
(With PTI inputs)