Pradeep Pattanayak

The Biju Janta Dal (BJD) on Wednesday expelled disgruntled BJD leader and former Dhamnagar legislator Rajendra Das on charges of antiparty activities ahead of the bypoll.

Party supremo Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday expelled Das from the party on the ground of anti-party activities. The party informed this by releasing an order.  

“Sri Rajendra Kumar Das, ex-MLA of Biju Janata Dal, Dhamnagar Assembly Constituency, District-Bhadrak has been expelled from the party for his anti-party activities by Shri Naveen Patnaik, President, Biju Janata Dal,” read the order. 

When contacted, Das said, “I was expecting this. I had earlier said that suspension would be a blessing for me.”

Regarding his strategies, Das said, “My star campaigners are my parents, relatives, seniors, women, students, youths and farmers. I am fighting the election on the basis of their blessings and advice and I would continue to do so in the coming days as well.”

In this regard, senior journalist Sandeep Sahu said, “The party has taken action against Rajendra Sahu and it was expected. The party would have taken the step on the last day of withdrawal of nomination papers. But, that didn’t happen. The party seemed to have hoped that he could be persuaded to stay away from the election.”

Notably, Rajendra Das, who was elected to the Assembly from Dhamnagar seat on a BJD ticket in 2014, is contesting the by-election to Dhamnagar Assembly seat as an independent candidate. It was when he announced that he would join the fray as an independent candidate, it created ripples in political circles, giving a jolt to the BJD. The BJD tried all possible ways including sending a four-member team to bring Das around to withdraw his nomination papers. But they all failed to cut ice with him. 

(Reported by Harihar Chand from Bhubaneswar, OTV Bureau)