Dozen BJD lawmakers quit Naveen Patnaik’s party in last 7 days
The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha has suffered a serious setback with at least a dozen senior leaders, including 3 sitting MPs and 4 sitting MLAs, deserting the party in the last seven days.
The Naveen Patnaik led BJD was the first party to declare its list of candidates for the first phase of the elections to the Odisha Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections. Odisha would see simultaneous polls to the Assembly and Lok Sabha on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.
Sitting MLAs from Dasapalla, Aska, Gunupur and Nilagiri resigned from the BJD while sitting MPs from Kalahandi, Kandhamal and Nabarangpur resigned from the party after being ignored during the nomination process.
Frmer MLAs from Daspall, Polasara and Paralakhemundi too resigned from the party expressing resentment over the way they were treated by the BJD. Chairperson of Special Development Council of Sundargarh district, Kusum Tete too left the party two days ago.
Kandhamal MP Patyusha Rajeswari Singh in her resignation letter to party president Naveen Patnaik asked why she was ignored despite being asked by the party to stay prepared for the upcoming elections.
“A party that has been so vocal about women empowerment has failed miserably. My hard work and dedication have been rendered futile,” she wrote in her letter.
Similarly, Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi in his resignation letter alleged that he was sidelined and envious people conspired against him. “The party either did not inform me or intentionally intimated at the last moment only to keep me away from important party meetings in my constituency,” alleged Majhi.
Former party MLA from Paralakhemundi, K Narayan Rao alleged that though he had built the organisation in his area since last 20 years, he was ignored at the behest of a certain sections of the party.
BJD Daspalla MLA Purnachandra Nayak who quit the party alleged that a person who embezzled over Rs 7 crore money meant for tribal and backward community was given a ticket. “BJD has become a home to corrupt people more than those fighting corruption,” Nayak alleged.
Political analyst Surya Mishra said this is the first time so many people were quitting BJD during election. “Earlier, not many partymen challenged Naveen Patnaik’s supremacy. But with the rise of BJP, those who were denied tickets are not ready to pipe down. How much these defections would affect BJD’s prospects will be difficult to predict as of now,” he said.
BJD leader and former minister Arun Sahu said people defecting from one political party to another was nothing new. “The desertions would not affect BJD’s prospects at all,” he said.
The ppposition BJP, which has set a mission of winning 120 of the 147 assembly seats and more than a dozen of the Lok Sabha seats, has been the biggest beneficiary of the exodus from BJD.
Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi, Sundargarh SDC chairperson Kusum Tete, Nilagiri MLA Sukanta Nayak, former Paralakhemundi MLA K Narayan Rao, Aska MLA Debraj Mohanty, former Daspalla MLA Kashinath Nayak and former Polasara MLA Niranjan Pradhan have already joined BJP in last couple of days.
“The desertion shows that the winds of change against BJD has started blowing in Odisha. Our party would be strengthened by the joining of the BJD leaders,” said BJP spokesperson Sameer Mohanty.
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After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) landslide victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi on a thanksgiving visit on Monday.He marked his visit by offering prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple before heading to address party workers.Modi won the Varanasi parliamentary seat by a margin 4,79,505 votes, defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.Follow highlights here: