Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) received a big jolt in the Khallikote constituency of Ganjam after hundreds of supporters of former MLA and Khallikote queen, late V. Sugnana Kumari Deo joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. 

As per reports, over 300 BJD workers of Khallikote and Kabisuryanagar, owing allegiance to Deo, joined the BJP in the presence of the party’s state unit president Manmohan Samal, Berhampur MP candidate Pradeep Panigrahi and Aska MP candidate Anita Subhadarshini at the BJP office in Bhubaneswar.   

They joined the saffron party, protesting BJD's decision to repeat sitting MLA Suryamani Vaidya as a candidate for the 2024 election.

Former MLA late V. Sugnana Kumari Deo used to have much clout in Khallikote. Her supporters have been pressing for a BJD ticket for Saket Rama Rao, one of her inheritors, to carry on her political legacy.  

Besides, over 100 supporters of former MLA of Kabisuryanagar Sitaram Panigrahi quit the BJD and joined the BJP as well.

The BJP in Ganjam received a shot in the arm ahead of the elections after such an influx of frontline BJD leaders and workers. 
Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal said, "We welcome the leaders into our party. They had been working for the people for many years.”

President of BJD’s Khallikote unit, K Narendra Patra said, "They quit the party, but it will make no difference to us. They joined the BJP after their interests were affected. One day, they will realise and come back to our party.”