Pradeep Pattanayak

Former Dhamnagar MLA and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) rebel leader, Rajendra Das on Saturday cleared the air on joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

During a telephonic conversation with OTV, Das said he is going to join the BJP on March 4. 

For the last few days, speculations were rife that Das would join the saffron camp. Das put an end to all such speculations by announcing his next course of action. 

Also Read: Dhamnagar by-poll: BJP demands scrutiny of ‘viral audio’ of Rajendra Das ‘meeting’ Amit Shah

Das used to be a loyal BJD leader and was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly on a BJD ticket in 2014. He had been an aspirant for a BJD ticket for the Dhamnagar bypoll and was sure that the party would field him. However, the party fielded Abanti Das. 

The next day he announced that he would contest the by-poll as an independent candidate. His announcement then created a ripple in the party. To persuade him not to contest the by-poll as an independent candidate, a four-member team was sent.  

The party kept waiting till the last date of the withdrawal of nomination papers and expelled him from the party on October 19, 2022. 

The voting for the seat, fallen vacant after the death of BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, was held on November 3 and the counting took place on November 6. BJP’s candidate and son of Bishnu Sethi, Suryabanshi Suraj won the by-poll.

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