Bhubaneswar, Feb. 11: Odisha chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik today revoked suspension of Cuttack-Choudwar MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal and Jatni MLA Bibhuti Bhusan Balbantaray.
The two had faced disciplinary action in the wake of the May 29 failed coup against him by expelled BJD leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.
Both suspended legislators were known to be close supporters of Mohapatra, who had led the unsuccessful coup against Naveen while he was away in London. It was alleged that both had played a major part in gathering the party MLAs at Mohapatra’s residence at Saheed Nagar on May 29 evening.
Announcing the withdrawal of the suspension order, Naveen said: “ Biswal and Balbantaray are no longer suspended from the party.”
Biswal said: “I certainly express my sincere thanks to him. I will continue to work as a loyal soldier of the party.”
On being asked what he would do if the party did not give him a ticket for the next Assembly polls, Biswal said: “ I will continue to work for the party. Remaining in the party is more important than holding a post. I will abide by whatever the chief minister decides.”
Balbantaray also pledged his loyalty to the party and the leadership. “I will try to contribute my might to strengthen the party,” he said. Party sources said both MLAs had met Naveen on several occasions and had clarified their position.
They had reportedly explained that they used to visit Mohapatra's residence like other leaders since he was looking after the party affairs. But their visit should not be misconstrued to be revolt against the party supremo. Party vice-president Damodar Rout said the two legislators had submitted their explanations in writing. “The high command is satisfied with their explanation,” he said.
Another senior party leader and parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das said the two legislators were suspended for breaching party discipline.
“However, during suspension, their conduct was well within party discipline,” said Das.
After Mohapatra was expelled from the party on June 1, last year, both the legislators did not even utter a single word either against the party or its leadership. They had also voted for the party candidates in the recent Rajya Sabha polls. However, the fate of three sacked ministers — Anjali Behera, Sarada Nayak and Sanjeeb Sahu — still hangs in balance. On the other hand, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, who was also dropped from the ministry, has been inducted into the party' state executive committee.