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BJD squabble comes to the fore

Bhubaneswar, May 2: Infighting in the BJD resurfaced today with Jagatsinghpur MLA Bishnu Das resigning from the Biju Shramik Sangathan, a labour organisation that was once being jointly promoted by him and Cuttack-Barabati MLA Debasis Samantray.

Das was an advisor to the labour organisation which Samantray floated in November 2011 to make his presence felt in the Paradip industrial area. The area is now a part of the constituency of BJD stalwart Damodar Rout, an archrival of the party ace and Rajya Sabha member, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

Samantray, who was once a close follower of Mohapatra but is now trying to distance himself from him, has business interests in the Paradip industrial belt. Sources said that while Samantray had made a pact with Rout, Das continued to be an enemy of the latter as both hail from Jagatsinghpur district.

When the Sangathan was set up, Samantray had sought to make inroads into the Paradip industrial area with the help of Das. At that time, the area was considered to be a strong support base of Rout. Ever since, the Sangathan has evolved as a force in the area.

The equations, however, began changing in the wake of the Kujanga cracker blast that took place in November last year. Four persons were killed and nine others were injured in the blast which pitted the duo of Samantray and Das against Rout, who held their organisation responsible for the tragedy and demanded a judicial inquiry into it.

Samantray expected Mohapatara to come to his aid during his hour of crisis but was disappointed. This allegedly made him gradually started move away from him and towards Rout.

Samantray even went to the extent of targeting Mohapatra at the April 17 meeting at the BJD office here to mark the death anniversary of Biju Patnaik. In an obvious dig at Mohapatra, whom many see as a parallel power centre within the party, Samantray said the party should stand behind its one and only leader Naveen Patnaik.

Samantary drew full support of Rout, who has been at war with Mohapatra for past sometime. Political observers see the emergence of a new power equation within the ruling party following the coming together of Rout and Samantray.

Reacting to Das’s resignation from the Sangathan, Samantray said: “He has resigned from the organisation without citing any reason.”