Baijayant Panda or Jay Panda, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Kendrapara, has been openly critical of his party of late, making his stand clear through newspaper articles, tweets and statements. Faced with the spectacular success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the panchayat elections in February and it emerging as the main Opposition to the BJD, Mr. Panda called for “introspection” in the party. Seen as an act of defiance, he was removed as spokesperson of the BJD Parliamentary Party in May. The BJD did win 474 of the 853 zilla parishad seats, but the rise in the BJP’s tally — from 36 to 297 — since the 2012 elections raised concerns in BJD circles. The BJP has been striving hard to emerge as the BJD’s alternative after it secured the second position in the panchayat polls overtaking the Congress. What has made things worse for Mr. Panda is a perception that he is acting at the behest of the BJP.What are his roots?Son of Odia industrialist Bansidhar Panda, who founded the IMFA, India’s largest, fully integrated producer of ferro alloys, Mr. Panda graduated from the Michigan Technological University and, with a background in engineering and management, worked in the corporate sector before joining politics.Although Mr. Panda’s father has stayed away from politics all these decades, his mother, the late Ila Panda, was a Rajya Sabha Member from 1992 to 1998. She represented the erstwhile Janata Dal, which Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s father and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik led in Odisha those days.Why did he join politics?Mr. Panda joined active politics when the BJD was formed by Mr. Naveen Patnaik in December 1997, a few months after the demise of Biju Patnaik. He has had a long stint in Delhi and is well networked — he was Rajya Sabha member from 2000 to 2006 and was re-elected to the Upper House in 2006. But he chose to cut short his second term in the Rajya Sabha in 2009 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kendrapara, considered a stronghold of Biju Patnaik as well as an anti-Congress bastion. He was elected to the Lok Sabha again in 2014 when Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. Apart from having a business empire, Mr. Panda’s family owns prominent Odia news television channel Odisha TV (OTV), adding to his strength as a politician. By writing articles in national newspapers and making use of social media, Mr. Panda was the BJD’s face in New Delhi.What are his ambitions?Mr. Panda and Mr. Patnaik shared a warm friendship for years, but the relationship appeared to have soured after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the Kendrapara MP grew close to the BJP top brass. Mr. Panda wanted to be made leader of the BJD Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha, but had to be content with the position of spokesperson along with party MP from Balangir Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo. Mr. Panda’s national profile, coupled with his appreciation of Mr. Modi’s policies in several of his articles, made Mr. Patnaik suspicious of him. He began to see Mr. Panda as a political threat. Mr. Panda’s criticism of the BJD’s functioning became louder after the panchayat elections, forcing Mr. Patnaik to remove him as the party’s spokesperson. The State government’s subsequent action against Mr. Panda’s family-run mining operations also indicated that their relationship was on the brink.What are his options?According to party sources, if Mr. Panda continues to remain in the BJD, Mr. Patnaik may deny him ticket to contest the 2019 Assembly elections. In that case, Mr. Panda will have no difficulty in getting BJP ticket for his own political survival.Although Mr. Panda has not openly challenged Mr. Patnaik so far, after eggs were hurled at him in his own constituency by BJD activists for his critical stand against the party, he alleged that intra-party conflict and goondaism had surfaced in the past three years, with bureaucrats sitting in air-conditioned rooms in the capital Bhubaneswar managing party affairs. He alleged that many key positions were no longer held by people who struggled for the party, “who might have given a honest feedback, but rather by opportunists from various fields, including some who had worked against the party.” With the BJP trying to grow in Odisha by highlighting ‘Brand Modi,’ the ‘dissident’ in Mr. Panda is likely to create trouble for Mr. Patnaik in the months to come. Will Mr. Panda survive in the BJD that long?
SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Stephen Curry shook off a poor shooting performance by scoring 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and the Warriors finally broke open a tight game to beat the Suns 117-107 on Friday night.Klay Thompson scored 25 points for the Warriors. Kevin Durant added 21 points and DeMarcus Cousins 18.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“They totally outplayed us all night,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “The only reason we won is because we have a lot more talent, obviously.”Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton 23 for Phoenix, which was without scoring leader Devin Booker due to a tight right hamstring. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates his 3-pointer against the Phoenix Suns along with Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Phoenix. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-107. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX— Make it 18 wins in a row for the Golden State Warriors over the Phoenix Suns.The latest, though, was no cakewalk for the reigning NBA champions.ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Suns: Booker missed his 15th game of the season. … Phoenix also was without T.J. Warren (right ankle soreness) and De’Anthony Melton (right ankle sprain). … Ayton’s 818 points through 50 games are third-most in team history, behind Walter Davis (1,169) and Alvan Adams (935).UP NEXTWarriors: host Miami on Sunday night.Suns: at Sacramento on Sunday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Down 94-88, Golden State took control with a 13-0 run — capped by Curry’s 3-pointer that put the Warriors up 101-94 with 5:46 remaining. Richaun Holmes’ tip-in cut the lead to 101-98 with 4:58 left. But Curry responded with another 3 and Golden State pulled away from there.“I think we just started making shots,” Durant said. “They played extremely hard. ”Phoenix shot out to a 26-9 lead but the Warriors cut it to 31-26 after one quarter.Green’s driving layup capped a 13-3 Golden State run that put the Warriors up 60-51 before Oubre’s tip-in sliced the Warriors’ lead to 60-53 at the break.Phoenix opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt to tie it at 64, and it stayed tight the rest of the third quarter. Oubre made one free throw with 4.9 seconds left, missed the second and grabbed the rebound for a dunk that put the Suns up 85-82 entering the final quarter.“Sometimes in this league, it can be ugly for 44 minutes and the last four you kind of revitalize your team,” Thompson said, “and that’s what Steph and DeMarcus did, K.D., and any win you get in this league you have to be grateful for.”Suns coach Igor Kokoskov liked his team’s effort, but said the Warriors’ ability and experience came through in the end.“They were so precise in late switch, miscommunication, late shifts from the weak side, they made us pay,” he said. “It’s just a learning experience for young guys. And it’s a poised veteran team, a team with a high IQ. They knew how to close a game.”TIP-INSWarriors: Their 18-game win streak against Phoenix is the second-longest active streak against a single opponent behind only Oklahoma City’s 21-game run against Philadelphia. … Warriors have won 11 consecutive road wins. … Golden State drew three first-half technical: on Green, Cousins and Shaun Livingston. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Wizards’ John Wall on injury: ‘God is telling me something’ View comments US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes MOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson added 19 apiece for the Suns, who led 85-82 entering the final quarter.Golden State’s Draymond Green was ejected after drawing his second technical between the third and fourth quarters.The matchup of the teams at the top and bottom of the Western Conference standings was a lot closer than anticipated — and in large part because it took Curry a while to find his stroke.Through three quarters, Curry was 2-of-12 shooting, including 1 of 8 on 3-pointers. But in the fourth quarter, he was 4 of 5, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.“We can compete,” said Ayton, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft. “We’re maturing even though we’re young. We can challenge any team. Don’t mind our record, there’s a lot of guys with a lot of great potential and we could actually make a dynasty team.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.