Bhadrak & Bhubaneswar: First it was the BJP and the political playing field was the opening ceremony of the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships on July 5. The Union Sports Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, the lone BJP Lok Sabha Member of the state and Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who of course represents Bihar in the Rajya Sabha shied away from the event.
The latter two preferred to roam with party President Amit Shah who that day had gone to Jajpur district on ‘Mo Booth Sabuthu Majbhoot’ programme.
In Bhubaneswar, the workers of the BJP and the BJD were busy in tearing photographs of Naveen Pattanaik and Amit Shah respectively. The BJP complained that though 22nd AAC was an international event, Naveen Pattanaik was trying to garner votes by publishing his photographs in advertisements.
Now, it is learnt that the trio-Piyush Goyal, Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan have decided not to attend the closing ceremony on July 9. Strangely, the Union Sports minister who had earlier given his consent to attend the ceremony has already backed out showing oter pressing engagements. Same is the case with Jual and Dharmendra.
The venue shifted to Dhamra port in Bhadrak district today. The occasion was the ‘Bhumi Puja’ (ground breaking ceremony) for the Rs 6000 crore LNG import terminal. Chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Pattanaik who had earlier consented to attend the function and make Bhumi Puja suddenly surprised everybody by announcing yesterday night that he would not. Nor BJD’s Bhadrak Lok sabha member Arjun Sethi. The list extended to Forests Minister Bijoyshree Routray, Women and Child Development Minister Prafulla Samal, Byomokesh Ray and Jugal Pattanaik who represent two other assemblies Chandballi and Bhadrak respectively from the district.
Several posters of Naveen Pattanaik were torn apart though BJP leaders rubbished the involvement of the party’s workers in it. Dharmendra Pradhan told the media that Naveen had assured to atten the function but he was not aware why he skipped it.
While BJD leaders complained about BJ|P’s former ministsr Manmohan Samal who is not an MLA now and its Patnagarh MLA K V Singh Deo being invited to the event including former MLA Bishnu Sethi.
The boycott and counter boycott strategies by BJP and BJD, political pundits say, is an indication of the fact that in future there would be more heated battles between the two parties though the assembly and Lok Sabha elections are about two years away.