Pictures fuel talk of Keonjhar BJD rebels’ ties with BJP, Cong

Bhubaneswar: Politics in Keonjhar Municipality has taken an interesting turn after some photographs of dissident BJD councilors, who had defied the party whip to vote in favor of the no-confidence motion against the chairperson, in the company of BJP and Congress leaders surfaced.

A picture of the councilors with BJP state president K V Singhdeo and another with Congress leader Prithviraj Kanhar have prompted the BJD to allege that the Opposition parties had hatched a conspiracy to destabilize the ruling party in Keonjhar.

“The BJP is assisting them in the no-trust motion while Congress moved the SEC with the councilors. It clearly shows that both the parties, who have been rejected by the people for years, have hatched a conspiracy to destabilize BJD in Keonjhar Municipality”, BJD spokesperson Samir Das said.

All the nine rebel councilors had recently met Singhdeo at the BJP state headquarters seeking favor for the no-trust motion. They had also submitted a memorandum to the saffron party in this regard.

Similarly, Congress leader Prithviraj Kanhar was present with these councilors when they moved the State Election Commission on Monday and urged it not to disqualify them under the anti-defection law as per the amendment to Section 17 of the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 (Odisha Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2015.

Both these photographs were unearthed by OTV.

On its part, BJP has admitted that the party helped the councilors during difficulties while Congress denied any role in influencing BJD members.

“BJP has no role in BJD affairs. But when injustice was meted out to the councilors, the BJP undoubtedly extended help,” BJP leader Sajjan Sharma said.

Ruling out any involvement in BJD’s internal matter, PCC president Prasad Harichandan said; “Congress neither has money nor muscle. How can the party influence their councilors?”

The nine Biju Janata Dal (BJD) councilors of Keonjhargarh Municipality had cast their vote against chairperson Meena Majhi during the no-trust motion on December 28 last year despite a whip issued by the party directing them to stay away from voting.

The dissident councilors moved the SEC and urged not to disqualify them as councilors after BJD hinted at applying the newly amended anti-defection law.