Deccan Chronicle - - OPED -

THE ME­DIA con­sid­ers him the tallest politi­cian in present-day pol­i­tics in Orissa. How­ever, de­spite his high-political net worth, se­nior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bi­joy Mo­ha­p­a­tra has not re­ceived the re­spect he de­serves.

The rul­ing Biju Janata Dal, which Mr Mo­ha­p­a­tra had founded, ex­pelled him in 2004. The Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party, which he brought to Orissa in 2004, “be­trayed” him in 2009 when Orissa chief min­is­ter and BJD pres­i­dent Naveen Pat­naik cul­ti­vated good re­la­tions with Sharad Pawar.

Mr Mo­ha­p­a­tra joined the BJP with the hope that the saf­fron party would give him due recog­ni­tion. He as­sid­u­ously strength­ened the party through per­sis­tent political ac­tiv­i­ties. His fol­low­ers ex­pected the party would re­ward him with the state chief post.

How­ever, the BJP chose to nom­i­nate Bas­anta Panda, said to be a “con­fi­dant” of Union pe­tro­leum and nat­u­ral gas min­is­ter Dhar­men­dra Prad­han, as the new party pres­i­dent. A cou­ple of days af­ter his corona­tion, Mr Panda held his first press con­fer­ence and an­nounced a poster cam­paign on ra­tion card ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in Orissa. The is­sue did not find much favour with the me­dia and hence got less than the ex­pected pub­lic­ity. A day af­ter Mr Panda’s press meet, Mr Mo­ha­p­a­tra called the press peo­ple and raised the is­sue of how the Naveen Pat­naik govern­ment had vi­o­lated all rules and laws to al­lot the land to In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Kr­ishna Con­scious­ness (ISKCON) in Puri and how the lat­ter was build­ing a tem­ple over it al­though it was given the land for other pur­poses. Im­me­di­ately, the is­sue was lapped up by the me­dia. All news­pa­pers flashed the news on the front page and TV chan­nels ran daily fol­low-up sto­ries on the ex­pose. Hope­fully, now, the BJP high com­mand will take note of Mr Mo­ha­p­a­tra’s po­ten­tial.

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