Himansu Shekhar Rout

Most of the big Ollywood stars who were once star campaigners for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) have deserted the party.

On Saturday two prominent cine stars and BJD leaders -- Kendrapara MP Anubhav Mohanty and former Korei MLA Akash Das Nayak- quit the party. Ollywood star Arindam Roy had earlier left the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Two-time Berhampur MP Sidhant Mohapatra followed the suit two days ago. 

In a video statement, actor-turned-politician Akash Das Nayak said, "The party failed to understand my importance and the hard work that I have been doing in the last 10 years. Today after listening to my inner voice, for self-respect and the respect of Korei residents, I have decided to quit BJD."

He further stated that he would decide on the next course of action after holding talks with the people of Korei and his supporters.

Visibly enthused over the continuous influx of BJD leaders to the party, Odisha BJP president, Manmohan Samal asserted, “The government in Odisha is going to change and the BJP government is coming. This is a transit period for the BJD govt. Your joining (those who joined) will help the BJP come to power.”  

Significantly, over a dozen BJD leaders have left the party in the last 15 days. Six-time MP from Cuttack Lok Sabha seat Bhartruhari Mahtab, Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, Telkoi MLA Premananda Nayak, Jayadev MLA Arabinda Dhali, two-time MP Sidhant Mohapatra, former MLA of Bhubaneswar-North Priyadarshi Mishra, former Bari MLA Debasis Nayak, former Chitrakonda MLA Dambaru Sisa and former Malkangiri MLA Mukunda Sodhi among others have quit the BJD.  

After quitting the ruling party, most of them have joined the BJP, except Anubhav Mohanty and Akash Das Nayak.

However, senior BJD leader Sudhir Samal seemingly put up a brave front saying, "It is natural that when hopes of leaders for a party ticket become bleak, they abandon the party. Our party president gives tickets to the leaders after assessing their support base and taking the opinion of the people in the respective areas. It will make no difference to our party if those deserting the party are seniors or juniors. People in many places are looking forward to young faces.”

(By Odisha TV Bureau)