Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 23:
Former Khandapada MLA Siddharth Sekhar Singh, who resigned from BJD on January 3, joined BJP today along with his supporters.
He took the primary membership of the party in a function at the state headquarters in presence of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and State BJP President Basant Panda.
Along with Singh, former Sarpanch Dhaneswar Mohapatra, Sri Lochan, former Councillor Sudam Pradhan, Saroj Choudhury, Haraprasad Choudhury, former village head of Baigunia Sankar Behera, former village head of Nimani Jai Krushna Biswal, several former ward members and hundreds of other BJD activists switched loyalty to BJP.
Notably, Singh, who also is the scion of Khandapada royal family, was the MLA of Khandapada between 2009 and 2014. He resigned from the primary membership of BJD on January 3 accusing it of not giving due importance to him. He had been replaced with Anubhav Patnaik as BJD’s candidate from Khandapada in the last Assembly election sparking strong resentment among his supporters.
“They didn’t give me a ticket, but I was still willing to cooperate. Last time they won with a wafer thin margin of 500 votes. Here, you can see more than 500 workers that have joined BJP with me. Once can understand, how this is going to affect the electoral chances of BJD,” said Singh.
“I am thankful that BJP extended a warm welcome to me. I will do my level best to take forward the programme of the party to the public and strengthen BJP in Khandapada. I am sure party will use my complete potential in this context,” he added.
BJP President Panda envisaged that the “BJP’s influence would get a boost in the coastal belt” with the advent of Singh.