Bhubaneswar, Jan 13 (PTI) In the wake of a BJD MP and a former MLA slamming an officer of the Odisha CMO, BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today claimed infighting in the ruling party has come to the fore and people will throw it out of power.

“Infighting in the ruling party in Odisha is gradually coming to the fore and the people have decided to reject the BJD Government at the hustings,” Pradhan told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Referring to the spate of salvos by some BJD leaders and counter attack by ruling party functionaries, he iterated that the state was witnessing a “constitutional crisis”.

Pradhan claimed that the BJD government is “simply passing through its tenure” as per the provision of the Constitution and the people of the state have made up their mind to bring about a change by ousting the “inactive and inefficient” government.

The union minister was responding to queries on BJD MP Baijayant Panda two days ago accused an officer in the CMO of interfering in political affairs. The BJD hit back at him and charged him with “speaking the BJP’s language”.

Announcing his decision to quit the party, BJD leader and former MLA Rama Ranjan Baliarsingh had alleged that Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik has “become a puppet” in the hands of an officer.

Stepping up his attack against the BJD, Pradhan said there are well defined principles and traditions about roles in a democratic set-up and Odisha has become an exception by deviating from this.

After Panda’s allegation on January 11 that an officer in the CMO was interfering in the affairs of BJD1, Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik yesterday hit back saying “”When they have no other issues, they attack my office. This is nothing new.”

To this Panda tweeted that even Naveen Patnaik’s father Biju Patnaik was in favour of action against corrupt officers when he was the chief minister. “I’m v.disheartened.

Did Biju Babu also have “no other issues” when he demanded action against corrupt babus?”

Panda’s allegation was backed by Pradhan, who claimed in a written statement earlier that the state’s chief secretary exists in name only due to intervention from an officer in the CMO.

He had further alleged that a senior minister was recently asked to resign not by the chief minister, but by an officer in the CMO.

BJD leaders including party spokesperson P K Deb had said that Panda was speaking the language of Pradhan. “There were glaring similarities in the statements of the BJD MP and the union minister.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.