The gathering at Patnaik's residence was significant in the wake of a rumour that some of the party MLAs, who two days ago supported the chief minister, had meanwhile switched over to the Mohapatra camp, they said. Around 40 of the 104 BJD MLAs, a dozen ministers and some MPs were present at Patnaik's party while many dissident members were not seen at the Naveen Niwas lawn.
"Special messengers were sent to the MLA Colony to ensure that all legislators present in the state capital attend the chief minister's party," a senior MLA said. Asked about the party, Patnaik said, "We are here on Sunday evening at Naveen Niwas...a small reception for chairpersons of various corporations, MLAs, MPs who are in the city. We discussed development and welfare works of the government and our discussion with DFID at London."
However, when asked on a possible ministry expansion as four positions were vacant following the dismissal of two ministers, the Chief Minister said: "We did not discuss those kind of matters here. It is a gathering of the Biju Parivar."
Meanwhile, Mohapatra who returned here after attending a family function in Mumbai, said he would speak to the media on Monday. "The MP is likely to reveal something newsworthy," said an aide of Mohapatra.