ONI Bureau: Only a person without any knowledge of Odisha Politics would express surprise or shock if Bijoy Mohapatra is finally expelled from the BJP. For all others, it is just imminent and inevitable. Over the last couple of years or so, Bijoy Mohapatra did enough to put the party in the dock instead of strengthening it further.
With no slight and due respect to the veteran leader, he mostly acted like a “BJD Agent” and put BJP in embarrassing situation on several issues. His tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month, was probably the last nail in the coffin of his association with the party.
It’s a known fact that Bijoy Mohapatra, who was discarded by the BJD at the behest of Pyari Mohapatra, has switched sides many times in the last 17 years. However, he always fought against BJD and Naveen Patnaik only to be defeated time and again. For the first time, he has upped the ante against his own party BJP, which probably failed to offer him what he deserved or wanted.
There is no love lost between Bijoy Mohapatra and BJP’s “unofficial” CM Candidate Dharmendra Pradhan. Call it ego or high ambition or non-RSS background, Bijoy Mohapatra, a leader of ‘Biju School of Politics’, never felt comfortable within the BJP after the rise of Dharmendra Pradhan in Odisha Politics. It’s true that BJP failed to utilise his experience and expertise, as he was the right person to be used as a key weapon to break the BJD.
In June 2017, Bijoy wrote a daring letter to Dharmendra Pradhan, alleging bias by Indian Oil Refinery in Paradip. He went on to claim that jobs were given to the outsiders while dreams of the educated unemployed Odia youths were shattered. Dharmendra did not wish to join issues with Bijoy Mohapata in the larger interest of the party and shrugged it off as a “good suggestion” to be taken care of. But, others in BJP did not take it lightly.
When CBI closed the Itishree murder case, Bijoy Mohapatra was the first to step in and criticise the agency. That prompted the BJD to attack former Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi, who was questioned in connection with the case, and now remains with the BJP.
Prior to that, Bijoy Mohapatra had stunned the party leaders and cadres by questioning Amit Shah’s ‘Mission 120’ claim, saying he is not sure about Shah’s strategies to capture 120 seats in Odisha, as he was not invited to the programme. “May be for the party, I am incompetent and inefficient”, he lamented.
Bijoy Mohapatra taking a tough stand on ‘Mahanadi’ issue and criticising his own party and Modi Government after the Centre refused to form a tribunal, left the BJP leaders in the state outraged. Bijoy adopted an aggressive posture and even called it a big conspiracy, giving a shot in the arm to BJD. The angry BJP leaders in Odisha warned him of disciplinary action, but he did not relent.
And, the incident at Garadpur (Kendrapara) on December 21 forced the BJP leadership to toughen their stand. ‘Enough is enough’, the party decided after the ‘Bijoy Sena’ ransacked the venue of BJP’s ‘Mishran Parva’ and turned violent bringing disrepute to the party. He was expelled from the Kendrapara District BJP Committee. When Bijoy Mohapata cried foul and alleged conspiracy to sideline him, senior party leaders have asked him to find his own way if he is not satisfied with the party.
It’s true that Bijoy Mohapatra had hardly any stake in BJP’s growth or rise in Odisha. Except Kendrapara, he has no influence anywhere else. The BJP may not need him badly today. The Odisha BJP is heavily baking on PM Modi and Dharmendra Pradhan. If Bijoy is not comfortable with either or both, it’s better for him to call it quits before being expelled in an unceremonious manner.