Jay Panda’s next political move in ‘final stages’

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Jay Panda’s next political move in ‘final stages’

Former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Lok Sabha member Baijayant Panda, popularly known as Jay Panda, on Sunday said that he is in the “final stages” of deciding the next political plan after his parting with Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik.Speaking to The Hindu before the formal launch of his book, Lutyens’ Maverick, Mr. Panda said he has had “conversations with major national parties but yet to make up his mind.”“I am now in the final stages of deciding of what I want to do. I have had discussions with friends in major parties. And a big part of my decision will be based on the ground reality and the politics of Odisha because I am elected by the people of Odisha,” he said.“I am willing to consider all options: it could be joining a national party or being part of a new party that is formed. All these options are open…I am still evaluating who is really serious about bringing change in Odisha.” He said over the years Mr. Patnaik, whose party secured 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, has successfully managed to convey the importance of his support to the national parties like the BJP and the Congress at the Centre.‘Fell for ruse’“I think Naveen and the BJD has done a brilliant job of playing the Congress and the BJP against each other. And the Congress fell for that ruse,” he said.“Even when there were major corruption allegations against the Odisha government, when the Congress was in power at the Centre, it could not take any action …thinking that it will help the BJP [as the two former NDA allies will come together]. And now there are reports that the BJP is making the same mistake.”Claiming that the parting was not ‘bitter’ from his side, he charged the BJD with stopping party members from attending even a prayer meeting in the memory of his late father. ‘Political vendetta’Talking about the episode involving his journalist friend Abhijeet Iyer Mitra, he turned it as a case of political vendetta. “The allegations in the FIR were changed four or five times. First, they made an allegation that the helicopter flew too low at a certain point of time. Then it was proven that at that time the helicopter was parked… Then by the third day the focus shifted and they arrested Abhijeet Iyer Mitra,” said the former Lok Sabha MP.“Now, he had separately made a satirical video at Konark and came out in a manner in which many Odias took offence. Now this is a broader issue about freedom of speech and so on. But even after he apologised and the Assembly accepted his apology, he was in jail for two more weeks,” charged Mr. Panda.

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