Vikash Sharma

In the run-up to the crucial general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gaining strength with top leaders from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) joining the saffron camp. This time, former minister and sitting MLA from Telkoi constituency Premananda Nayak and former Dhamnagar MLA and BJD’s rebel leader, Rajendra Das on Monday joined the BJP at a special programme held in Bhubaneswar.

The development assumes much significance as earlier Arabinda Dhali, a five-time MLA, switched to the BJP in Bhubaneswar at the party's headquarters on Sunday. Dhali had earlier quit the BJD and announced to change camp.

Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal said, “Those who are blinded by power and neglecting the interest of people of the state will bite the dust. The people will dethrone the BJD government as it is going to be the people’s elections. The BJD government is only indulging in publicity and corruption. As a result, scores of people are forced to migrate outside in search of work. Despite having natural and human resources, the state is lagging behind.”

Sitting MLA from Telkoi constituency Premananda Nayak had resigned from primary membership of BJD on February 9. Nayak won the assembly election in 2009 and 2019 on BJD ticket. During Naveen Patnaik’s fifth term, he was picked as Skill Development and Technical Education Minister. He was upset as he wasn’t allowed to meet CM Naveen Patnaik regarding over various issues in his constituency.

Also Read: 'Sidelined' Odisha MLA Premananda Nayak resigns from BJD

Former Dhamnagar MLA Rajendra Das, on the other hand, was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly on a BJD ticket in 2014. After being denied a ticket in Dhamnagar bypoll, Das had contested as an independent candidate creating ripples in BJD.

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