Bhubaneswar, March 25: In 1967, Haryana MLA Gaya Lal changed parties thrice in quick succession and provoked a Congress leader to coin the now-famous adage of “Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram”.
Former Balasore MLA Arun Dey lived up to the adage used for turncoats by walking out of the BJD 10 days after he had joined Naveen Patnaik’s party.
Apparently unhappy at being denied a ticket from the Balasore Lok Sabha constituency, Dey, who had started out in politics as a communist, said he would decide his future course of action after consulting his followers.
“The ruling party is no more under the control of Naveen. A handful of people are running the show,” fumed the bespectacled leader, who had won his last election as a Odisha Gana Parishad (OGP) candidate. He was in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) before joining the BJD.
Another BJD leader to switch loyalties was two-time MLA from Khurda, Jitu Mitra, who joined the BJP today. Mitra, whom the BJD had suspended after he contested the 2009 elections as a rebel from Khurda, is likely to get the saffron party ticket from the same constituency.
“I am convinced that the BJP will form the next government at the Centre. This time, it will be a contest between me and my disciple, Rajendra Prasad Sahu, in Khurda,” said Mitra. Sahu is the BJD candidate from Khurda.
The focus, however, was Dey, who last represented the Balasore Assembly constituency on an OGP ticket in 2004. Later, he joined the NCP and contested as its candidate from the Balasore Lok Sabha constituency in 2009 under a seat-sharing arrangement with the ruling party. However, he lost to Congress’s Srikant Jena who is contesting the seat again. While Dey is likely to file his nomination papers from the Balasore Assembly seat, BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das dismissed his allegations against the party as baseless. “He is making these allegations because he was denied the party ticket,” said Das.
In another development, Kharavela Swain, who had filed his nomination papers from the Balasore Lok Sabha constituency recently as an Ama Odisha Party candidate, today declared his intentions to contest from the Cuttack Lok Sabha constituency.
“We have made a pact with the Trinamul Congress under which we will leave the Balasore seat for them,” said Swain, a former MP.
Trinamul Congress’ Krutibas Patra is likely to contest against Congress’s Srikant Jena and BJD’s Rabindra Jena. The BJP has fielded Nilgiri MLA Pratap Sarangi as its candidate from the constituency.
In another development, the BJD today announced the names of its candidates for the remaining two Assembly seats. While former minister Bed Prakash Agrawal has been fielded again from Patkura in Kendrapara district, Pramod Mallick has been nominated again from Niali. Congress is yet to declare its candidates for 25 Assembly seats and the BJP is yet to take a call on two Lok Sabha (Bhadrak and Jajpur) and 29 Assembly seats.
The filing of nomination papers continued across the state today. Entrepreneur Sunjoy Hans, who recently joined the Ama Odisha Party, today filed papers for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency as an Independent. He will find himself battling it out with Congress’ Bijoy Mohanty and BJD’s Prasanna Kumar Patasani. Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena and forest and environment minister Bijoyshree Routray also filed their nominations today.