Elections 2019: Three BJD MLAs, 3 former legislators join BJP

Resentment seems to have put forth a tough challenge for the BJD ahead of the polls and the party will, for the first time in around two decades, face a real competition in 2019 elections

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha seems to be in hot water as its leaders who once helped the party withstand the challenge of Modi wave that had swept India’s political landscape in the 2014 polls are joining hands with the BJP thick and fast.

Till now, it was believed that BJD’s electoral victory in Odisha was shaped substantially due to the lack of reliable and strong opposition in the State. However, it seems the dissident BJD leaders have now found a safe haven in the BJP. With several BJD leaders joining the BJP in the last few days, as many as six MLAs and ex-MLAs joined the saffron party today.

Dasapalla MLA Purna Chandra Nayak, Nilagiri MLA Sukant Nayak and Aska legislator Debraj Mohanty today joined the BJP along with their supporters at a Mishrana Parva organised at the State party headquarters in Bhubaneswar today. Similarly, former legislator of Paralakhemundi K Narayan Rao joined the saffron party along with former Dasapalla and Polasara MLAs Kasinath Mallick and Niranjan Pradhan, respectively.

Moreover, BJD’s candidate for Sundergarh Assembly seat in 2014, Kusum Tete and Congress leader Nilamani Bisoyi also joined the BJP today in presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, State party unit chief Basant Panda and senior leader KV Singh Deo among others.

“The party (BJD) for which I worked so hard, tortured me. The mental torture that was meted out by the party had become unbearable. I thank the BJP for accepting me and helping me get rid of that mental torture,” said Nilagiri MLA, Sukant Nayak.

A ‘hurt’, Kusum Tete said, “I promise to work for the party (BJP) with full dedication and abide by the principles and directions of the party.”

On the other hand, BJD’s sitting Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh and Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo have already resigned from the party after being denied ticket.  However, they are yet to join any party.

Meanwhile, incidents of BJD workers openly disproving party supremo Naveen Patnaik’s ticket selection were also witnessed in several Assembly constituencies of Gajapati, Boudh, Puri and Kandhamal districts.