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BJP slams Orissa trust vote, Mitra in firing line

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
March 11, 2009 19:10 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday termed the winning of the trust vote by the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa as a "case of opportunism and betrayal of people's mandate."

"It is not a victory, it is opportunism. Naveen Patnaik and his party have betrayed the mandate of the people," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedekar said.

"Now it is a ground zero situation. The people of Orissa would hit back and give a befitting reply to Patnaik and his party for the betrayal. The BJP occupies the non-Congress space in Orissa," Javedekar added.

Chandan Mitra, Rajya Sabha member of Bhartiya Janata Party, said: "We wanted even Congress to participate in the debate. By declaring that Patnaik has won on the basis of voice vote the Speaker has grossly misused his power. It is a murder of democracy."

Mitra had been sent to Orissa as BJP leader L K Advani's personal emissary to negotiate the seat adjustment with Patnaik but the Orissa chief minister refused to oblige to the BJP's demands.

Mitra gave him a list of 96 assembly seats which was not accepted by the alliance partner. Patnaik even rejected the demand for more seats for the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP leader Jaswant Singh was the first political figure in the party to raise his voice against the leadership minutes after Naveen Patnaik told newsmen in Bhubneshwar that he was unhappy with BJP and VHP's role in the Kandhamal riots.
"One man who would be held responsible for party's defeat of the party would be Chandan. Many in the party feel that even Advani's private secretary Deepak Chopra would have done a better job," a senior party leader told

Similarly, other senior leaders wanted to know why the party top-brass appointed Mitra as trouble shooter when he did not have the same stature as Naveen Patnaik.

"Nobody knows why he was sent to Orissa. You could be a good writer, but you cannot be a good politician," another senior leader of the party confided.

But some leaders found nothing wrong in sending Mitra as Naveen's wings had to be clipped. "It is wrong to blame him. The VHP and local RSS in charge Satish put their foot down and left no choice for Mitra," said a senior vice president of the party. 

Additional Inputs: PTI

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi