Bhubaneswar: Striking hard at those who allegedly plotted an unsuccessful coup against him, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday sacked a third minister amid speculation that more heads are likely to roll soon.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Sarada Prasad Nayak was shown the door three days after Patnaik dismissed two other ministers Anjali Behera and Sanjeev Sahu for allegedly conspiring to topple his government.
"I have forwarded a letter requesting the Governor of Odisha to dismiss Sarda Prasad Nayak, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Department," Patnaik told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
Tightening the screws on the dissidents, Patnaik had suspended Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and two legislators Pravat Biswal and Bibhuti Balabantray from the BJD after the aborted coup came to light on May 29 when at least 33 MLAs and three ministers (Nayak, Behera and Sahu) met at Mohapatra's residence.
Mohapatra refuted the charge that a conspiracy to remove Patnaik was hatched at his residence. "There was no conspiracy about any coup against the CM," he said.
The dissident leader dared the Chief Minister to order a CBI probe into all corruption charges against him (Mohapatra).
BJD has a strength of 104 MLAs in the 147-member Assembly.
The Chief Minister, who was away in London, had cut short his visit in the wake of the dissidents' threat.
Justifying today's action, Patnaik said the charges against Nayak were "more serious" than the "shadow of corruption".
Patnaik said he had requested the Governor to allow him to retain the Housing and Urban Development Department while giving the excise department to state state Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai.