BHUBANESWAR: It seems the move Odisha BJP president Basanta Panda to select young brigade as members of the state committee has not gone down well with the old brigade of the party.
Even though they have not vented their anger openly for being ignored in the party, they are not ready to bow down before the young brigade, who are said to be loyal to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, a leader being projected as BJP’s chief minister candidate.
Besides, the party wants to convey a message to the people that they are ready to fight against the ruling BJD and Congress with a renewed vigour as it has almost denied any say of the ministers in the BJP-BJD coalition government between 2000 and 2009, in the party affairs.
“It is the prerogative of the party president to form his own team. He must have taken suggestions from others before preparing the list of members. The members, whom he observed the fittest, have been given charges. The important thing is that he has relied on the young brigade for the benefit of the team,” said former MLA Pratap Sarangi, who was vice president of the party during the period of KV SInghdeo.
Several senior leaders who were ministers in the Naveen Patnaik government during the coalition days have not been inducted in the party office-bearers. The senior brigade includes Manmohan Samal, Samir Dey, Jaya Narayan Mishra, Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, KV Singhdeo, Pradipta Naik, Rama Chandra Panda and Surama Padhi.
The only solace for Biswa Bhusan Harichandan is that his son Prithviraj Harichandan has been appointed as general secretary.
Besides, other senior leaders like Bijay Mohapatra and Dillip Ray have been ignored.
Party sources said, if these leaders are inducted, then Dharmendra Pradhan can’t wield his power in party affairs directly since they will oppose the move.
Meanwhile, Sajjan Sharma, who was announced as the chief spokesperson of the party, said the newly appointed team would work in tandem with party’s growth.
“It is the prerogative of the party president to choose his own team. Besides, he has also sought the cooperation of all the members for party’s growth,” Sharma stated.
However, Odisha BJP president Basant Panda denied of sidelining the senior party leaders. He said the former and current MLAs/MPs are permanent invitees to the 79-member state executive.
Notably, Panda on Sunday announced his team comprising 24 members. The 24 members include 7 vice presidents, 10 secretaries, 4 general secretaries and 1 secretary (organisation).