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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

BJP hit by exodus in Odisha as vice-president Lekhashree Samantsinghar switches to BJD

Another BJP stalwart to put in his papers is former minister Raghunath Mohanty. He is likely to join the BJD. Sources said either Mohanty or one of his family members is likely to be the BJD candidate either from an Assembly or a Lok Sabha seat

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 08.04.24, 09:33 AM
BJP state vice-president Lekhashree Samantsinghar on Sunday.

BJP state vice-president Lekhashree Samantsinghar on Sunday. Ashwinee Pati

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main rival of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha, has gained the most when the pre-poll exodus of leaders from the Naveen Patnaik-led party began as a majority of these defectors joined the saffron bandwagon.

The boot, however, is now on the other foot with several important BJP leaders quitting the party and joining BJD and other parties.

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The latest to bid goodbye to the saffron flag is state BJP vice-president Lekhashree Samantsinghar, who joined the Naveen-led party on Sunday. “I have given my sweat and blood to the BJP in the last 10 years. Despite all the sincerity and hard work, I could not earn the trust of the leadership. Hence, I feel there is nothing left for me to do here and my desire to serve the people of Odisha is being hampered,” she said in her resignation letter addressed to state BJP president Manmohan Samal.

Samantsinghar was a ticket aspirant for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat. After the party denied her the ticket, she was aggrieved. The BJD is likely to field her as a candidate either from the Balasore Lok Sabha seat or from any other Assembly seat.

Another BJP stalwart to put in his papers is former minister Raghunath Mohanty. He is likely to join the BJD. Sources said either Mohanty or one of his family members is likely to be the BJD candidate either from an Assembly or a Lok Sabha seat.

State BJP vice-president Bhrugu Buxipatra left the party a few days ago and was made the BJD candidate from Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency within hours of sending his resignation.

Former Salepur MLA and Cuttack BJP district president Prakash Behera has also turned his back on the BJP and joined the regional party which has made him its candidate from the Cuttack-Barabati Assembly constituency.

The exodus of leaders from its ranks has triggered a crisis within the saffron party which is unable to find suitable candidates in many constituencies. The party is yet to announce its candidates for 35 Assembly constituencies.

“When the exodus of leaders from the BJD was taking place, the saffron party was its main beneficiary. But it had also sought to grab the moral high ground, accusing the regional party of ill-treating its leaders and failing to contain the rebellion within its ranks. Now the opposite is happening. The BJP leadership has lost face,” said Girija Shankar Das, a political observer.

BJD big names who joined the BJP include former ministers Pradeep Panigrahy and Debasis Nayak and the sitting MP from Cuttack Bhartruhari Mahtab. The BJP welcomed these BJD leaders with open arms while training its guns at chief minister Naveen Patnaik accusing him of ill-treating his party leaders who were responsible for their migration to other parties.

In a related development, former minister and senior Congress leader Ganeshwar Behera joined the BJD on Sunday.

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