Naveen Patnaik suspends Mohapatra, drops two ministers
Bhubaneswar, June 1 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday suspended Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and four others, including two ministers, from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for anti-party activities.
Patnaik made the announcement at the state secretariat after discussions over several hours at his official residence with senior party leaders and legislators.
The others who were suspended from the party are women and child development minister Anjali Behera, minister of state for commerce and transport Sanjib Sahu, and legislators Bibhuti Balnantray and Prabhat Biswal.
Patnaik said he has written to state Governor M.C. Bhandare to drop the two ministers from the government. The chief minister, however, did not announce as to how many years they would be suspended from the party.
Patnaik's move came two days after dissidence in the party came to the fore when Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra Tuesday held meetings with a large number of legislators at his residence.
Mohapatra also openly criticised the functioning of the government and the party a day later. Opponents saw the meeting as a move to destabilise Patnaik and have demanded action against him.
Minutes after the announcement of his suspension, Mohapatra said it was the outcome of a conspiracy by a group of people who have surrounded the chief minister.
Describing the contribution he has made to build the party, the emotionally charged former bureaucrat also said he would go to the people against the move and will not split the party.
He also said the move for his ouster was planned several months ago and those who planned it successfully managed to influence the chief minister.
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