Pradeep Pattanayak

With the 2024 elections fast approaching, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is taking more and more leaders from the Congress party, triggering gossip in political circles that the conch party is running out of options. 

Of the 15 names announced by BJD for Lok Sabha seats, three are Congress leaders. They are Anshuman Mohanty, Jatani MLA Suresh Routray’s son Manmath Routray and Pradeep Majhi, who have been fielded in Kendrapara, Bhubaneswar and Nabarangpur respectively.  

They apart, the conch party has lured Khariar Congress MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi, former Congress MLA Chiranjib Biswal, Bolangir Congress district president Surendra Bhoi and Paralakhemundi’s former MLA, K Surya Rao by offering the bait of Assembly ticket. 

BJP state vice president Golak Mohapatra said, “The BJD has no strength. If it has strength, it won’t take leaders from other parties. In Odisha, the BJD’s main team is Congress. In case of any shortfall, they take leaders from Congress.” 

Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “Not only BJD, but the BJP is also luring leaders from Congress.  People will give them a befitting reply in the coming days.”

Also Read: Odisha Elections 2024: BJD jittery over BJP’s candidate announcement?

Taking his party’s side, BJD leader Sangram Paikray said, “Leaders not only from Congress but also from other parties are coming to our party, thinking their future is bright here.”

The BJD had once sent Congress turncoat Bhupinder Singh to Rajya Sabha. Leaders like Sasmit Patra, Manas Mangaraj, Bikram Panda and Chandrasekhar Sahu have also been imported from Congress. After joining BJD, they have become either MPs or MLAs. As of now, the party is reportedly trying to bring two heavyweight leaders from Ganjam and Kendrapara. 

“The BJD is bringing those leaders, mostly from Congress, where it has negative feedback for own candidates or don’t have capable candidates,” said senior journalist Rabi Das.

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