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Tathagata Satpathy says BJP wants to split Biju Janata Dal

Two days after the BJP decided to hold its national executive meet in Bhubaneswar, the political cauldron in Odisha was given a definitive stir by Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) chief whip in the Lok Sabha Tathagata Satpathy, who, in a series of tweets accused the BJP of trying to split his party; “They want AIADMK-type split,” he said.

These tweets created a stir in political circles and focussed attention on the fact that the BJP is now the contender in the State, rather than the long time rival of the BJD — the Congress.

Veterans spar

Observers surmise that the tweets pointed to BJD MP Baijayant “Jay” Panda, Mr. Satpathy’s parliamentary colleague, who in fact did respond to the latter’s tweets.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said, “I was responding to a direct question by Krishan Pratap Singh on Twitter over Mr. Satpathy’s comments, that too in a lighter vein. What Mr. Satpathy has said today (of MLAs revolting) is the talk of the town in Delhi and Bhubhaneswar for the last two weeks. My point is that it was odd that it came from Mr. Satpathy, who has the experience of being suspended from the party in the past,” he said.

The statement has created ripples in the State’s politics, where the BJD has had an uninterrupted reign of 17 years under Naveen Patnaik.

‘Early elections’

“BJP hard at work to divide @bjd_odisha in Parliament, may be even in Assembly. They want AIADMK-type split,” Mr. Satpathy tweeted. “They (BJP) want to take away @bjd_odisha party name and symbol. Rumours afloat that one MP will swing this deal for the. Ha!” he added. “If split happens, no matter how small, BJP will try for early elections in Odisha, with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Will EC (Election Commission) play along?” he said.

“BJP national convention scheduled on April 15-16 in Odisha, PM to attend. Intention to put pressure to make State government defunct,” he added. Mr. Satpathy refused to comment beyond what he had tweeted. But when asked about the name of the rebel BJD MP he had referred to, he said, “I didn’t name nobody; I only wanted to flush out the critter.” In the midst of this tweet storm, BJP national secretary Suresh Pujari rubbished the allegations. “The BJP builds its own organisation, and does not foster splits in other parties,” he said.

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