Poll Vault: Odisha leaders defect after EC’s poll bugle

Bhubaneswar: With the announcement of poll dates in Odisha, several political leaders are coming off the fence, while political parties have begun the process to strengthen their positions by roping in disgruntled leaders from opposition flanks to their own fold.

Ahead of the elections, as many as 24 youth leaders of Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD), the student wing of ruling BJD, including the State General Secretary Chinmay Pradhan and Secretary Dilip Senapaty resigned from the party on Monday. Members of BCJD’s state committee, Bhubaneswar District Committee, Bhubaneswar Zone Committee and Biju Yuva Janata Dal’s (BYJD) Bhubaneswar District Committee were among those who resigned from the party. However, it is still unclear as to which party will these leaders join.

“After working for 17 years, we have found that BJD has lost its principles. While senior leaders have been ignored, bureacrats are being inducted into the party. The workers have no value and the party has become a rehabilitation centre for bureaucrats,” said Senapaty.

On the other hand, former BJP Mahila Morcha State Vice-President, Sushama Biswal joined BJD at Naveen Niwas in the presence of Chief Minister and party supremo Naveen Patnaik on Monday. In 2014, Sushama had contested Assembly Elections on a BJP ticket from Nilagiri constituency in Balasore.

“I was unhappy with the leadership while I was working for the BJP in Balasore. The CM knows the skills of good governance and recently he announced 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and assemblies. I am inspired by the ideologies of the chief minister,” said Sushama after joing the party.

Similarly, BJP leader from Simulia assembly constituency in Balasore district, Sashi Kumar resigned from the saffron party on Sunday. He informed that he would join BJD soon. However, infighting has cropped up in BJD after Kumar’s announcement. BJD’s block President Gauranga Padhi, in a press meet, alleged that the decision to induct Kumar in the party was taken without any discussions with the workers at the grassroots.