Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is already grappling with a long list of aspirants, accepting leaders from other parties is reportedly giving rise to discontent within the party. 

As if importing leaders from other parties were not enough, the party is also spreading red carpets for the leaders, who contested against the BJD candidates in the 2019 elections. This is why the leaders of the Conch party are said to be voicing their displeasure. 

In the 2019 elections, Arindam Sarkhel also known as Bapi Sarkhel was fielded by Congress and contested against BJD candidate Sambit Routray. Now, his wife Monideepa Sarkhel has joined the BJD. The party workers are opposing this. 

“There are competent candidates in the BJD. But the import of leaders from other parties is creating disturbance in the party,” said Pradeep Samal, a Paradip BJD worker. 

Also Read: BJD’s Cuttack fort collapsing like a pack of cards? 

Echoing the same, another BJD worker of Paradip, KK Rao said, “Don’t we have leaders in the party? Why we should bring leaders from other parties?”

Similar is the situation in Khariar. Here, the BJD workers have been objecting to the induction of Congress MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi.  They are objecting because, in the 2019 Assembly elections, Panigrahi had defeated BJD’s candidate Lambodar Nial by 2,857 votes. 

“He (Panigrahi) contested in a Congress ticket and won in the 2019 Assembly elections. Now he has joined BJD. It is up to the people to take a decision,” said Harihar Behera, a BJD worker in Nuapada. 

Similarly, BJP candidate Irani Ray, who fought against BJD MLA Arun Sahoo for Nayagarh seat in 2019, joined the BJD today. Likewise, some days ago, Anshuman Mohanty, who was fielded by the Congress against BJD’s Dhruba Sahu, also joined the BJD. 

Importing leaders from other parties has already put the BJD in a tight spot. It is evident from the fact that Telkoi BJD MLA Premananda Nayak has resigned from the party after the joining of BJP leader Dhanurjaya Sidu, who was pitted against him in the 2019 Assembly elections. Likewise, Arabinda Dhali has also snapped his ties with the BJD for a parallel organisation in the Jayadev seat. 

But BJD says such things are normal at the time of elections. 

“BJD is a large party. The number of its workers and leaders has increased which is quite natural. But when it comes to managing things, Naveen Patnaik is a strong leader,” said BJD MLA Prashant Muduli.