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Finally, Naveen suspends Baijayant Panda from BJD

Bhubaneswar, January 24, 2018: Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday suspended Lok Sabha MP from Kendrapara, Baijayant “Jay” Panda from the primary membership of the party for anti-party activities.

The move came nine months after he was removed from the post of spokesperson of the BJD parliamentary party.

“Party president Naveen Patnaik has suspended Baijayant Panda from the primary membership of BJD with immediate effect,” announced party vice-president and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Surjya Narayan Patro in a press conference at the party State headquarters here this evening.

The axe on the high profile MP is said to be the fallout of his reported proximity to BJP.

However, the action came after BJD’s Cuttack and Kendrapara district observers-Usha Delvi and Pramilla Mallcik- submitted their reports on Panda’s conduct towards party workers to the party president.

Patnaik had ordered an inquiry against the four-time parliamentarian as party workers and leaders from different blocks in Cuttack and Kendrapara districts recently lodged complaint with him accusing the MP of ignoring them and giving priority to non-BJD workers and leaders.

According to a party release, as IMFA’s vice-chairman, Panda has withdrawn an annual salary and allowances of Rs 1,45,27,747 in 2014 and that his company has had received a huge loan waiver earlier which is still a matter of debate.

However, the demand for action against the BJD veteran grew louder after he directly charged a non-Odia IAS officer’s high-handedness in the party's affairs and dragged the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) into the controversy.

On January 11, Panda, who had been sidelined by the party leadership, while inaugurating a overhead tank in his constituency targeted officers close to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and cautioned them to remain within the "laxman rekha” thereby inviting ire from the party high command.

On the following day Patnaik, while answering to media queries on the MP’s remarks made it clear “whatever appropriate will be done.”

Notably, in May last year, two months after Panda called out for introspection in BJD in the aftermath of party’s under performance in the panchayat polls, Patnaik removed the former from the post of spokesperson of BJD Parliamentary Party.

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