Bhubnaeswar, June 21: Relations between the BJD's Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda and health minister Pratap Jena are set to become further strained following a fresh controversy triggered by the Panda's absence at the party's Cuttack district executive committee meeting today.
The BJD's Cuttack district unit is headed by Jena, whom Panda had earlier accused of orchestrating an attack on him at Mahanaga on May 30 during the inauguration of a drinking water project set up with his MPLAD fund.
The Mahanga Assembly segment represented by Jena is part of the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency.
While commenting on Panda's absence at the Cuttack district BJD executive meet, Jena said all the party MPs representing their districts had been invited. Panda refuted the claim and took to Twitter to express his anguish: "false, not invited. This is petty, low level politicking by vested interests who are manipulating the party. Hope the founder sees through it."
In the wake of the Mahanga incident, in which he was attacked with eggs and stones, Panda had expressed similar sentiments while pointing accusing fingers at a set of bureaucrats without taking names.
"We (the party) had a policy to resist hooliganism and infighting, but in the past three years, many things have changed," he had said, adding that "some babus sitting in air-conditioned rooms have started taking decisions on behalf of the party, leading to indiscipline. I had apprised the party chief of the matter and I'm sure that once Naveen babu gets to know the truth, he will take steps."
This time, too, he expressed hope that BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik would take note of what was happening.
His hopes, however, have not materialised so far with a growing feeling within the party that the distance between him and Naveen is growing as the BJD supreme has become suspicious of him following his past comments praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.