ONI Bureau: Many may not agree with me and just shrug it off saying a it would not be easy for any leader in Odisha to project himself as an alternative to Naveen Patnaik. But, this time things are a bit different. It’s not Baijayant Panda, who is trying to project himself; instead the ruling party and its leader are showing signs of nervousness to send that impression to public.
Powered by an Ultra Left Ecosystem, the BJD kept claiming that Jay Panda does not make any sense in Odisha politics and he remains just a ‘Twitter Tiger’. It was just a few weeks ago when he was unceremoniously suspended from the party he helped float more than 20 years ago. But, within a few weeks, instead of going into oblivion like many other suspended/expelled BJD leaders in the past, Jay Panda has managed to hit back in his own style and rattle the ruling party.
Baijayant Panda is facing a multi-pronged attack – whether in Kendrapara from his own party colleagues, or from BJD leadership/workers or from the Ultra-Left and Left who suddenly found him as an Enemy as they fear that he would help BJP counter Naveen in Odisha. Obviously, the anti-Modi and anti-BJP forces can go to any extent to stop BJP anywhere, not just in Odisha. And, they launch a scathing attack on anyone who is seen even remotely associated with the saffron party or supports their policies. Not surprisingly, Outlook, which had bestowed ‘Best Administrator’ on Naveen Patnaik, is used as a platform by some ultra-Left authors to put Jay Panda down.
Not only Baijayant Panda, but also OTV, the leading TV channel run by his family, has come under severe attack, not only from BJD leaders, but also from the CM himself, who for the first time, posted two press releases of the party to attack a media house! It happened never before. The BJD President, who is best known for his composure, seems to have lost his cool these days.
Gone are the days, when the BJD pressers were delayed to wait for OTV boom. Even, there were instructions from the top to break all Government/Party news to OTV first, and others later. The same channel, which was hailed as the most unbiased, popular and comprehensive one for the last 20 years, is being touted as ‘paid news’ and accused of working on a BJP agenda. Ironically, OTV is still showing all allegations levelled against it by the BJD leaders without blacking out and even providing a response.
Some political pundits say OTV is being targeted as it carried news items against Pandian, highlighted Kunduli case with full might, exposed the flaws and was the first channel to cover attack on Pandian’s residence. But, it’s not as simple as it looks. Baijayant Panda is yet to take a decision on his next political move. Despite suspension, he continues to be the Lok Sabha MP. There is no concrete info whether he would join BJP, Congress or float any other outfit. As he keeps everyone guessing, BJD leadership and the entire system are getting confused and restless.
Although they try to put up a volt face in public, saying it hardly matters which way Baijayant Panda would go, there is an uneasiness within the party. The leaders are cautious. The powerful system in the party or government has raised the alarm. And, they don’t have any other option but to go aggressive to force Jay Panda to respond and reveal his cards. But, that is helping Jay Panda’s cause, as he has now become the much-talked politician in the state, who dares to take on Naveen Patnaik as well as the powerful system headed by the CM’s Private Secretary.
The battle has taken an interesting turn now. And, surprisingly, BJD has spared BJP and its top leaders while going on an offensive against Baijayant Panda and his business houses.