Mr Purty supported JMM supremo Shibu Soren for claiming three districts-Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh-- from Orissa and their merger with Jharkhand for the achievement of a greater Jharkhand.
Describing it as an old demand, the JMM MLA said Mr Soren did not do any wrong by including the demand in wish-list submitted before the UPA government at the Centre on July 19.
Mr Purty was speaking at a foundation stone laying ceremony of a bridge over river 'Kanhu' at Basantapur village under Jamda block in Mayurbhanj district yesterday.
Interestingly, it was an official function in Jamda block where the Law, Rural Development and Industries Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan laid the foundation stone of the bridge.
A heated exchange of words, however, took place between the BJP activists and Purty's supporters present at the meeting.
Mayurbhanj MP Sudam Marand, also the JMM Orissa state unit president in a bid to divert the attention of the people from the Greater Jharkhand issue, demanded the splitting of the undivided Mayurbhanj district into two districts and establishment of a steel plant in this iron ore-rich district.
He said geographically Mayurbhanj is the biggest district in Orissa and could be split into two for ensuring administrative convenience, Mr Marandi argued.
Political observers here, however, felt that whatever may be the intention of Marandi behind these two demands, it would be difficult for him to refurbish his lost image and restore the JMM support bases in Mayurbhanj damaged by anti-JMM agitations against the greater Jharkhand demand.
However, Mr Purty's remarks might add fuel to the fire with a fresh spate of demonstrations and burning of effigy of Shibu Soren in tribal dominated Mayurbhanj district, according to political observers.
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