Mrunal Manmay Dash

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha suffered yet another jolt ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha and Assembly elections with sitting MLA Arabinda Dhali quitting the party on Saturday.

Dhali, who represents the Bhubaneswar Jayadev assembly constituency, sent his resignation letter to party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today informing his decision to resign from the primary membership of the party.

He is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tomorrow.

Dhali is one of many BJD leaders and MLAs who have recently left their party to join BJP. Recently, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi and former Odisha minister Debasis Nayak have also joined the BJP after leaving BJD.

Similarly, sitting Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev also joined the BJP in Bhubaneswar recently.

Dhali is a two-time MLA of BJD. He had won the 2009 election from Jayadev Assembly Constituency. While Sashibhusan Behera was nominated by the party to fight from Jayadev in 2014, Dhali was again entrusted to fight from the seat in 2019.

He had defeated independent candidate Naba Kishore Mallik by 19000 votes in 2019.