Former Works Department secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan joins BJD

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the general elections, BJD continues to reinforce its arsenal by bringing new faces into its fold and as a part of this strategy, the ruling-BJD today welcomed former Works department secretary, Nalini Kanta Pradhan to the party.

Apart from Pradhan, former additional commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation and SC/ST Development department director, Ramesh Chandra Sai also joined the ruling party in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas in Bhubaneswar.

“Nalini Kanta and Ramesh Chandra, along with one leader from the BJP and one from Congress have joined BJD today. Their joining will strengthen the party,” said Patnaik.

In his reaction, Nalini Kanta said, “I joined the party after getting inspired by the ideologies of the CM.”

Talks are doing rounds that Nalini Kanta, who retired a few days back, will be the candidate from Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency, whereas Sai might contest from Athamallik Assembly constituency in the upcoming polls.

Many believe that as the image of sitting MPs and MLAs, and leaders of BJD has been tarnished after being drawn into chit fund and other scams in the State, the party is looking for fresh faces. Besides, these new leaders are expected to help the party to tide over anti-incumbency, sources said.

Earlier, former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Arup Patnaik and former Auditor General, Amar Patnaik had joined the party.

Political pundits said, like 2014 elections, the BJD president Naveen Patnaik has adopted a similar strategy to include credible faces in the party.

“He has lost confidence on leaders of his own party. Therefore, they are bringing in bureaucrats and secretary-level officers into its fold to improve the party’s. This shows the party’s election management strategy,” said Prasanna Mohanty, political expert.

“As no leader with clean image has been left in BJD, people have lost confidence on its leaders. A ‘bureaucratic’ colour is being given to politics,” said Pradeep majhi, PCC working president.

“Earlier, the former Works department secretary was given the task to collect funds for BJD by Pandian. After the joining of the bureaucrat in BJD, it is proved that he has been engaged to collect funds,” said Samir Mohanty, BJP vice president.

Declining the charges BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “Many people are joining the party and similar trends can be seen in case of Congress and BJP. Why question is being asked to BJD? Cannot a bureaucrat join politics?”