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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Odisha Congress MLA to join BJD ahead of Rahul Gandhi visit

Congress in Odisha suffered a severe blow after one of its working presidents and MLA from western Odisha, Naba Kishore Das announced that he was joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

india Updated: Jan 14, 2019 09:46 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Congress in Odisha suffered a severe blow after one of its working presidents and MLA from western Odisha, Naba Kishore Das announced that he was joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Congress in Odisha suffered a severe blow after one of its working presidents and MLA from western Odisha, Naba Kishore Das announced that he was joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).(AP)
         

Wracked by dissidence and despondency, Congress in Odisha suffered a severe blow after one of its working presidents and MLA from western Odisha, Naba Kishore Das announced that he was joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Attending a meeting in Samasingha gram panchayat of Kolabira block last evening, Das said he will contest the 2019 elections from the BJD.

“People of Jharsuguda have urged me to fight from BJD in the upcoming general elections and I will do what my people want. As I always do what my supporters and well-wishers want. I will definitely consider joining BJD very soon,” he said.

Das said he would join BJD when chief minister Naveen Patnaik visits Jharsuguda district on January 24 to address a meeting and inaugurate a cancer hospital, drinking water supply project, modern diagnostic centre and pathology centre and a railway over-bridge.

Incidentally, Das is Congress is likely to happen just a day before party president Rahul Gandhi visits Odisha to address a public meeting.

Das, the sitting MLA from industrially-important disrict of Jharsuguda in western Odisha, has been in the news over the last six months over rumours of him being wooed by BJD. Known for his organisational skills, Das had defeated BJD candidate and former Assembly speaker Kishore Kumar Mohanty twice in the Jharsuguda constituency.

In 2017 panchayat polls, Das managed to steer Congress to victories in the Zilla Parishad elections in Jharsuguda district even as the party was drubbed elsewhere.

Incidentally, Das had recently said he would contest the upcoming elections on Congress ticket. Four days ago he had praised Odisha Pradesh Congress president Niranjan Patnaik and his leadership.

The desertion of Das seems a repeat of similar exit of senior Congress leaders from the party just before 2014 assembly polls. Just a month before 2014 assembly polls, then-leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh had joined Biju Janata Dal after expressing his displeasure over a coterie running the party. The desertions made it difficult for the party to find candidates for the 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Apart from Singh, several other senior leaders including Nayagarh district president of Congress and scion of Nayagarh royal family, Kumar Hemendra Singh had joined BJD.

First Published: Jan 14, 2019 09:46 IST