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‘Burglary’ saddens Naveen

Bhubaneswar, June 2: Having cracked the whip and reasserted his authority, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today likened the failed coup against him with an attempt at “mid-night burglary” in his house and described it as “treachery of the worst kind”.

“This was like thieves coming to one’s house at midnight. It is nothing but beimani and beimani (treachery and treachery),” said Naveen, who is yet to come to terms with what happened during his absence from the state capital.

“I am out of the state for a week and this mid-night operation takes place. It’s really very sad,” said a visibly shaken Naveen.

The chief minister, who spent the day consulting party leaders who visited his Naveen Nivas residence, said he found it hard to believe that the coup was led by his former aide Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, who had joined the party much after him and who at one point of time had been the principal secretary to his father, the late Biju Patnaik.

Mohapatra, along with MLAs Bibhuti Balabantray and Prabhat Biswal, was yesterday suspended from Biju Janata Dal while two ministers, Anjali Behera and Sanjeeb Sahu, were dismissed for their role in hatching the conspiracy to unseat the chief minister.

However, Mohapatra, the leader of the failed coup, remained defiant.

“You will see what I am going to do. I know there are many MLAs who love and respect me. Many of them are feeling neglected which is why they had turned up at my residence on Tuesday,” he said, ruling out the possibility of floating a new party.

“Why should I? BJD is my party,” he said while making it clear that he was not going to sit quiet.

On the other hand, Naveen, who resumed his work at the secretariat today, met some senior party leaders to discuss ways of strengthening the party organisation in the wake of the attempted coup.

Sources said there was a distinct possibility of a major organisational rejig in the BJD apart from a ministry rejig which seemed obvious following the sacking of two ministers yesterday.

The priority for the chief minister, however, would be consolidating his grip on the party, which, so far, was practically being run by Mohapatra.

“He has to look for a suitable replacement for him (Mohapatra) while neutralising his influence on the (party) organisation,” said a BJD leader, adding that having learnt from the recent experience, the chief minister was now likely to take much more interest in his party affairs by making himself more accessible to workers and leaders.

Speculation was also rife on whether any showcause notice would be served on Mohapatra and his cohorts who have been suspended from the party and how would he react to it.

Former agriculture minister Damodar Rout, who has crossed swords with Mohapatra several times in the past, said: “It was Mohapatra who was trying to destabilise the party. Now the onus of explaining it all lies on him.”