The war of words in the ruling BJD in Odisha over Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's alleged lack of knowledge in Odia language escalated today with the party dubbing its senior leader Baishnab Charan Parida an "opportunist" and a "habitual party changer".
Parida, a former Rajya Sabha MP of the party, had on Tuesday criticised Patnaik, who is also the BJD chief and has been at the helm in the state since March 2000, for his alleged lack of knowledge in the language and said that he has no right to rule the state.
BJD general secretary Bijay Nayak who hit out Parida today claimed that Patnaik is well versed in Odia and is loved by 4.5 crore people of the state.
"He (Parida) is an opportunist. He has changed many parties in his own interest in past. He got the opportunity to enter Rajya Sabha only due to the grace of Naveen Patnaik even though he has never won a single election," Nayak said in a statement.
"Why had he(Parida) remained silent during his Rajya Sabha tenure? Why did he come out with such statements now ? Is it at someone elses behest that he has been doing this?
"Who is Baishnab Parida to question the decision of four crore Odias?," he asked.
Besides criticising Patnaik, the former MP had also asked the chief minister to step down for not knowing the state's language.
Parida, who heads the Bhasa Surakhya Sammilani, an outfit fighting for protection of Odia language, had also called for dharnas in front of all district collectors office across the state on October 16.
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