Ollywood’s brash boy turned BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty seemed to have opened a Pandora box for his chieftain Naveen Patnaik. Mohanty’s actress wife Barsha Priyadarshini has filed cases of domestic violence against the sitting MP from Kendrapara, dubbing her husband ‘professional drinker’ and ‘compulsive womanizer’. Retaliating swiftly, Mohanty has filed a 47-page petition against his spouse, levelling grim charges against her.
While the law will take its own course (a cliché often used by CM Patnaik), it has raised the question whether this will change the course of politics for Anubhav Mohanty. The Ollywood star has bagged plum favours from the Patnaik led BJD in his early innings into the profession. First, he was nominated for the Rajya Sabha, dousing the flame of hope for numerous expectants in the BJD cadre. The game changing moment came when BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik fielded Mohanty from Kendrapara, the party bastion for decades since Biju babu’s heydays. The choice was dictated more by Patnaik’s considerable friction with the dissident member Baijayant Panda rather than Anubhav’s winnability. Patnaik ensured Panda bite the dust as the BJD coasted home with a stupendous victory margin of over one lakh votes.
However, the latest episode of Anubhav getting embroiled in a case of domestic violence has brought on board the questions of dignity and probity for the ruling BJD. Patnaik, in the past, has demonstrated zero tolerance as much for corruption as for impropriety. Remember how ex minister Raghunath Mohanty almost lost his political clout after his daughter-in-law Barsha Swony Mohanty entangled him in similar cases of domestic violence and dowry torture. The protracted legal battle meant the end of the road in politics for the former minister. Besides Mohanty, another former finance minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei faced the axe for making public his displeasure at the alleged undemocratic functioning of his boss. Even the all-powerful Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, once the most trusted counsel and confidante of Patnaik, was relegated to the shadows. Hence, it has perplexed observers why the Chief Minister is still reticent on Anubhav’s case. Insiders claim the supremo is treating the actor-turned-politician with kid gloves because of the ‘Kendrapara’ factor and the baggage of sentiment it carries.
Having said this, Patnaik can no longer afford to bide time. Media is already abuzz with the case, tacitly pointing to inaction against the Kendrapara MP. In the past, the Chief Minister has usually announced disciplinary actions with alacrity. The swifter he does it in Anubhav’s case, the more it will serve to save the image and grace for the BJD.
Written By Dibyajit Sahu