Mrunal Manmay Dash

Putting an end to all speculations, Bahubali leader and Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday.

He joined the saffron party at the state BJP office today in the presence of Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, state election co-in-charge Lata Usendi and many other senior leaders.

Jagdev arrived with his supporters at the party office today in a different avatar by chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'.

Speaking at the party office, Jagdev advised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take retirement from Politics.

“Naveen babu respects me a lot. He has also protected me many times. But not anymore. He is no more in a condition to protect anybody. He should stay away from politics now,” Jagdev said.

“I can sense a double-engine government here in Odisha. I am currently in an action mood. It is now time for action and not reaction,” Jagdev said.

Jagdev started his political career as a student. In 2004, Jagdev was pitted against Congress’ Janaki Ballav Patnaik. He was later elected as Zila Parishad chairman and MLA. He won from Begunia in 2014 and from Chilika in 2019 on a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ticket.

Notably, on March 12, 2022 Jagdev was heading towards Banpur Block for the Block chairperson election when he had to stop due to a heavy rush in front of the Block office. Instead of slowing down the vehicle, Jagdev allegedly drove it into the crowd. At least 22 people were injured in the incident.

The infuriated mob then attacked the Bahubali MLA and also vandalised the vehicle. A severely injured Jagdev was initially admitted to the Banpur hospital and later shifted to a Bhubaneswar-based private hospital. He was arrested after his discharge from the hospital on March 22.

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He was suspended from BJD following the incident.

Jagdev was granted conditional bail by the Supreme Court in July 2022.

Notably, former BJD leader and current Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi has also joined the BJP recently.