Bhubaneswar, May 20: In an embarrassment to BJD government in Orissa on the eve of its second anniversary in third term, senior party MLA Damodar Rout today alleged that chief minister Naveen Patnaik is only implementing decisions taken by party MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.
“Pyari is the real power centre in Orissa and Naveen is just the executor,” said Rout, who was dropped from the state cabinet barely 10 days ago.
Suspecting Mohapatra's hand in his ouster from the cabinet on May 9, Rout said he was unable to understand the reason behind Patnaik going by Mohapatra's words.
Opposed to Mohapatra's emergence as second power centre in the state, Rout said he had all along been arguing that like other regional parties headed by Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, Lalu Prasad and others; Naveen Patnaik should have absolute power.
“Though opposition parties and media described Pyari and not Naveen as the real power centre, I dismissed it. But the recent ministry reshuffle proved opposition and media were right. Pyari is the real power centre,” Rout told reporters.
Stating that the people of Orissa have voted Naveen Patnaik to rule, he said: “The chief minister should implement his own decision and not Pyari's agenda.” When contacted chief minister Patnaik said he was not aware of the allegations made by Rout. “I have not got opportunity to go through what Mr. Rout has said.”
“I will not like to comment on the entire episode,”
Mohapatra, a bureaucrat-turned-politician told PTI over phone from New Delhi.
Mohapatra, a retired IAS officer who was the principal secretary to Biju Patnaik during his tenure as chief minister in early 90s, came to politics in 2004. He had been elected to Rajya Sabha as BJD nominee twice.
Replying a question Rout said he had no problems with Mohapatra. “When I was a minister in Biju Patnaik caninet from 1990-95, Pyari was a secretary. Many BJD men surrendered before Pyari, but I did not accept him as leader,” he said.
“Naveen Patnaik is my leader even though he dropped me from the cabinet,” Rout said adding the people of Orissa have love and affection towards the chief minister because he is the son of legendary Biju Patnaik.
“Patnaik has support of 103 MLAs in a house of 147. Therefore, he should take his own decision and implement them instead of executing Pyari's wishes,” Rout said. PTI