The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naveen rules out split in party

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 18: Ruling out a split in the Biju Janata Dal, Orissa chief minister and party president Naveen Patnaik today said the recent political developments would not affect his party or the government.

Patnaik, who returned to Bhubaneswar today, after supervising a meeting of his band of four loyal MPs in New Delhi on Sunday, said Arjun Sethi still continued to be the leader of the seven-member BJD Parliamentary Party.

Yesterday, a truncated BJD Parliamentary Party “re-elected” Sethi as its new leader.

On October 29, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi had recognised dissident MP Prasanna Acharya as the leader of the BJD Parliamentary Party.

Patnaik, who met the Speaker yesterday, said he had explained the scenario to him after three rebel MPs — Prabhat Samantray, Jagannath Mallick and Kumudini Patnaik — were expelled from the party on Saturday. The chief minister is understood to have requested the Speaker to declare the three expelled members as unattached.

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