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Pyari flexes muscles in Kalahandi

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 19: Expelled BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra today put up a show of strength at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi and indicated that his new outfit would soon become a full-fledged political party.

“If Odisha Jan Morcha comes to power, our first priority will be to carry out massive developmental programmes in the KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region,” Mohapatra said.

BJD leaders dubbed Mohapatra’s ambitious plans as daydreams.

“He is only building castles in the air. He even does not have the requisite political experience. He has never faced electorate and became a Rajya Sabha member only with the blessings of chief minister Naveen Patnaik,” said health minister Damodar Rout, who is also the BJD’s vice-president.

Mohapatra organised today’s meeting with the help of a few of his loyalists. People from the KBK region thronged to the venue despite the district administration allegedly obstructing the movement of vehicles at various entry points to Bhawanipatna.

Posters and billboards with pictures of former chief minister Biju Patnaik and Mohapatra were put up all over the town. Mohapatra was taken to the venue in a motorcycle procession.

Mysterious posters with pictures of Indira Gandhi and Mohapatra that had surfaced in various locations of KBK yesterday, were pulled down after Morcha workers lodged an FIR at the local police station.

At the meeting today, Mohapatra accused the chief minister for not giving him due credit for his efforts in building the party and the government.

“No one sees my efforts behind a number of government programmes including the Rs 2 a kg rice scheme. All welfare schemes till 2009 were introduced on my advice. Naveen Patnaik would not be able to speak even a few sentences about the programmes,” he said.

Launching a scathing attack on Naveen, Mohapatra said the chief minister, who had been brought up in Punjabi environs, had failed to adapt to the Odia culture. “Some people brought him from Delhi. However, he has utterly failed to fulfil the dreams of his father,” he said.

Mohapatra said his ouster from the BJD was nothing but a conspiracy against him. He called himself a “karmee” (worker) of the BJD and said that the time had come to fight for the rights of all such workers.

Jubilant over the success of today’s meeting, Mohapatra announced that the next meeting of the Morcha would be held at Baripada in Mayurbhanj.

However, former minister and MLA from Kalahandi district Puspendra Singh Deo said today’s meeting did not threaten the BJD’s political prospects in the district. “No worker or leader from the BJD turned up at the meeting. It will not have any impact on BJD’s future here,” he said.

However, the BJD district unit has urged the chief minister to visit Kalahandi and carry out a damage-control exercise.

The Congress today concluded its six-day padayatra at Atabira in Baragarh district.