Himansu Shekhar Rout

In a major setback to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), over 8,000 workers quit the ruling party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Khallikote Assembly constituency in Ganjam on Monday. 

The BJP held a merger ceremony attended by the party’s Odisha in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar, senior party leader Samir Mohanty, Aska Lok Sabha candidate Anita Subhadarshini and MLA candidate for Khallikote Assembly seat Purna Chandra Sethi. 

As per reports, ahead of the 2024 elections, the BJP through its merger ceremony made a show of strength in the Assembly segment where the party is said to be broadening its base.

Responding to the call of samiti member of Kanchana panchayat, Chitrasen Ghose, over 8,000 BJD workers including sarpanchs of five panchayats joined the BJP.

Speaking to the media, Chitrasen said, "Taking the opinion of our people, we joined the BJP. There was a gathering of 8,000 to 10,000 people who joined the BJP.” 

BJP’s MP candidate Anita Subhadarshini observed, “Scores of party functionaries, sarpanchs, samiti members and workers left the BJD and joined the BJP. Their joining will definitely strengthen the BJP and will help us win the elections.”

Sounding confident about the BJP’s victory in the upcoming election, BJP’s Odisha in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar said, "The entire country is swept by a pro-Modi wave. There is also a wave of Ram Naam. Hence, Odisha can’t be left untouched by the wave. The BJP will form government at the Centre and in Odisha. More than 16 MPs will be elected from Odisha."