Bhubaneswar: Aggressive posturing by suspended party leader Ashok Sahu has triggered unrest within the state BJP.
The former IPS officer has sought to target, among others, state unit president K.V. Singh Deo, who was in the eye of the storm recently in connection with the Ghangapatna land scam.
“Sahu seems to be acting to a plan. His attack on Singh Deo is deliberate as the royal scion from Balangir has become vulnerable in the wake of Ghangpatna land muddle,” said a BJP leader admitting that any attack on the state president would hurt the public image of the party.
Singh Deo was in the news last month when allegations about his daughter, Nivritti Singh Deo’s company having bought land illegally in Ghangapatna on the city outskirts surfaced.
Despite his assertions that there was nothing irregular about the purchase of this land, part of it was later reclaimed by the state government.
Singh Deo’s name had also cropped up in connection with discretionary quota row following allegations that during his tenure as urban development minister he had allotted houses to people under this quota that has now been called into question.
As if this was not enough, the royal scion from Balangir has now been accused of being hand in glove with the mining mafia by his own suspended party colleague, Ashok Sahu, whose continuing diatribe against the state leadership has come as a wet blanket for the party that was upbeat following improved performance in the Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency where the by-poll results were announced on October 19.
Contrary to the earlier perception that Sahu had become a pariah within the party following his suspension, his allegations evoked mixed reactions from BJP leaders.
“He should not have raised these issues in public but his charges against Singh Deo, if true, are serious,” said former MLA and state party vice-president Pratap Sarangi.
Another BJP heavyweight Prithviraj Harichandan, son of former minister, Biswabhushan Harichandan, said: “Disciplinary action against Sahu has pained us though he should have refrained from expressing his views in public.”
Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram, a known ally of Sahu, has already said that he would take up the issue of suspension with the party’s central leadership.
Significantly, while Singh Deo continues to maintain a stoic silence over Sahu’s personal attacks on him, some of his colleagues have dismissed it as a non-issue.
“He is just a policewalla (Sahu is a former IPS officer), whose political maturity remains doubtful. His statements about the party’s functioning should best be ignored,” said senior leader and former minister Jaynarayan Mishra.
Former minister Samir Dey, who was one of the many leaders held responsible by Sahu for the state party’s current state of affairs, was more cautious in his reaction.
“We don’t want to indulge in a public spat with him. Let the party leadership take a decision,” he said.
Sources said the leadership would take a final call on Sahu’s future after he replies to the show-cause notice served on him. Contacted the leader said: “I am preparing a detailed explanatory note to be submitted to the leadership.”
--The Telegraph, Calcutta