One of the most well-known faces of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), MP Baijayant Jay Panda, has been sacked as spokesperson, say reports.
This decision, reports suggest, is directly connected to his column and other remarks about brewing resentment in the party.
The Indian Express reported that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said in a 'terse' one-line statement signed by party vice-president Suryo Patro, that Panda was being removed as party spokesperson.
A few days ago on May 9, Panda had also indicated a split within the party, in a reaction to two BJD senior leaders - Jayaram Pangi and Amar Nayak - joining the BJP.
He had tweeted saying:
His removal as the spokesperson is said to be directly connected to his opinions about the party. It was also alleged by BJD leaders that Panda was close to the BJP.
The Indian Express reported that Panda's reaction was that he respected any decision made by the party.
In his column published in March in an Odiya daily, Panda had said, as quoted by this report, "If we honestly introspect, we must acknowledge that allegations about the political environment in 1997...are again being alleged about Odisha of the past three years."
He had also alleged that many important positions in the party had been taken up by 'opportunists'.
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