Former Orissa Finance Minister quits BJD

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 30 (UNI) Former Orissa finance minister and senior leader Panchanan Kanungo today resigned from the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) expressing displeasure at the manner the party was functioning under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

In a strongly worded letter to Mr Patnaik, who is also the party president, Mr Kanungo said it had become 'unbearable' to remain in the party. It would be 'very painful' on his part to become a party to the 'style and functioning' of the BJD, he said. A copy of the letter was released at a news conference here.

The former minister alleged that under the leadership of Mr Patnaik,the civil and police administration had totally collapsed while corruption had reached such an extent that the chief minister's secretariat had been exposed while receiving bribe.

Mr Kanungo said the BJD had 'sacrificed' all democratic norms in running the party. There was no internal democracy and the Political Affairs Committee(PAC) had never met during the last few years to discuss any contentious issues.

He said he had drawn the attention of the chief minister, both verbally and in writing, to take steps to safeguard the interest of the people for which the BJD was voted to power for the second time, but in vain.

He also questioned the delay in formulating a Mining Policy and alleged that it was kept in cold storage at the behest of the ruling party MP and some mine owners who were against it. Similar was the fate of the Agriculture Policy which was to be announced in 2003-2004.

To a question, Mr Kanungo said neither the state government nor was the party functioning to safeguard the interest of the people and warned that the BJD would ''meet the fate of the fallen Mogul empire''.

He parried a question on joining any other political party, but said he would extend all cooperation to those who strive for Orissa's development.

Mr Kanungo said several leaders in the BJD were also 'feeling uncomfortable' and were in a state of dejection.

''Let God provide them enough courage to free themselves from the clutches of the party supremo,'' he remarked.

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