By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Odisha is trying hard to strengthen its winnability by poaching disgruntled leaders from ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and other parties. On the other hand, the ruling BJD has hit hard the BJP by inducting BJP state president Basanta Panda’s nephew.
Feeling sidelined, Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi and Nilagiri MLA Sukanta Nayak resigned from BJD. They are likely to join BJP. Majhi and Nayak felt that they would not get party ticket this time.
Similarly, Salipur Congress MLA Prakash Behera, resigned from the party today. He is tipped to be the BJP candidate from Salipur.
Recently, two veterans-former Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda and former minister Damodar Rout- have been inducted into the BJP fold with much fanfare.
On the other hand, BJD today admitted Harischandra Panda, nephew of BJP state president Basanta Panda. “Uncle (Basanta Panda) is working for the party, not for the area. BJP leadership is acting like an autocrat. That’s why I am quitting the party”, said the Junior Panda vowing to ensure the defeat of his paternal uncle at the hustings this time.
Ruling BJD has started picking up winning horses from other parties. Pradesh Congress Committee working president and Jharsuguda MLA Naba Das had quit the party and joined the BJD. Similar was the case of Sunita Biswal, daughter of former chief minister and veteran Congress leader Hemananda Biswal. Both Das and Biswal are tipped to be BJD candidates this time. Promising BJP leader from Nilagiri Susama Biswal has also joined BJD on the promise that she would get party ticket.
BJD sources said former union minister Dilip Ray, who has recently resigned from the Rourkela MLAship and BJP simultaneously, may stage a comeback to the party.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.