Bijepur bypoll: Former BJD leader Ashok Panigrahi joins BJP in Odisha

Barpali: BJD’s rebel leader Ashok Panigrahi officially joined Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) here today ahead of Bijepur bypoll.

The former Bijepur MLA joined the saffron party at a public gathering in presence of two Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Juel Oram and senior party leaders.

Around 30,000 BJP workers had gathered during the joining programme.

However, it is yet to see whether Panigrahi will be fielded as the candidate to contest the bypoll for Bijepur assembly seat, which is lying vacant after demise of Congress MLA Subal Sahu.

On the other hand, the BJP workers have threatened to oppose Panigrahi as the party’s candidature in Bijepur bypoll.

Opposing Panigrahi’s joining in BJP, party’s Bargarh president Narayan Sahoo is believed to have tendered his resignation from the party. Along with him, three BJP Mandal (ward) presidents have reportedly quit the party.

However, Panigrahi said that he has joined the party sans any political interest.

Taking early step to capture Bijepur assembly seat, ruling BJD has already announced Subal Sahu’s wife Rita Sahu as the party’s MLA candidate for the bypoll.

Things are likely to take interesting turn after joining of former BJD leader in BJP and his role in the upcoming bypoll in the district.

Reacting over Panigrahi’s joining in BJP, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “There are no leaders in BJP and BJD. Therefore they are trying to buy leaders from other political parties luring them of appointing them in top posts. However, the Congress is not part of that trend in politics.”

“BJP is not a political party. It works like a corporate house appointing leaders as the servants in various posts, gives them salary, provides them other facilities and directs them to campaign for the party and party leaders,” he added.


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