BJD MLA throws down gauntlet on Dharmendra Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader and MLA Mahesh Sahoo on Tuesday dared Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to contest the upcoming general elections from Pallahara Assembly constituency.

Though the Petroleum minister has kept all guessing on the constituency from where he will contest, he is already being projected as BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Odisha for the 2019 elections.

Speaking at the centenary celebration of Munduribeda Primary School in Angul a couple of days ago, the Union Minister had hinted at contesting from Pallahara, his old constituency and said that his ‘own mistakes had made him taste defeat last time (2009), but he is confident of getting more support this time.’

“To my knowledge, Dharmendra Pradhan will not contest from anywhere in Odisha. He will neither contest for Lok Sabha nor in Assembly election. Biju Janata Dal will welcome him in case he contests and I will personally welcome him if he decides to contest from my constituency,” said Sahoo.

Taking a dig at Pradhan, the Pallahara legislator further said that “The BJD and I have the capacity of winning hearts of people. As they (BJP) have the money muscle, there won’t be any problems. They might have money but they lack organisational structure. Had money been so important, Tata-Birla would have also become Prime Minister.”

In reaction to the BJD legislator’s comments, State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said that the BJD leaders are awash with ego because of the 19-year-long rule and rampant corruption.

“After unabated corruption, BJD leaders are now scared of losing power. They are now making comments out of paranoia,” alleged Harichandan.

It is worth mentioning that Pradhan has been a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar since 2012. He had last contested from Pallahara constituency in 2009 while he didn’t contest the 2014 elections.