Odisha: BJP surges ahead in wooing prominent faces from rival camps

Odisha Politics

Bhubaneswar, April 6: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Odisha seems to be quite poised this time to do good in Lok Sabha and state assembly polls as the party is well ahead of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress in so far as attracting faces from the rival camps.

Over a dozen former and sitting MLAs and MPs, mostly from the BJD have joined the saffron brigade, signaling a strong performance this time.

Odisha will go to simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha in four phases: May 13, May20, May 25 and June 1.

The BJD leaders who have so for joined the BJP include, Anubhav Mohanty, Arabinda Dhali, Akash Das Nayak, Balabhadra Majhi, Bhartruhari Mahatab, Dambaru Sisha, Debashis Nayak, Mukund Sodi, Pradip Panigrahi, Prashant Jagdeb, Rajendra Das, Premananda Nayak, Priyadarshi Mishra and Sidhant Mohapatra.

Ramachandra Panda, former Deputy Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, is also likely to join the saffron party.

Two former Congress legislators – Naren Palei of Bhadrak and Nabin Chandra Narayan Das – have also joined the BJP.

On the other hand, the BJD has to its side former and sitting lawmakers like Adhiraj Panigrahi (Congress), Surendra Singh Bhoi (Congress), Sukanta Panigrahi (BJP), Prakash Behera (BJP) and Chiranjib Biswal (Congress). One or two former Congress legislators are likely to join the party. Some of the names which are doing the rounds include Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja (Congress) and BJP leader Raghunath Mohanty.

Raghunath, a former minister, was a BJD stalwart before joining the BJP.

According to political analysts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s good governance and Odisha BJP’s crusade against corruption and nepotism is making the party dearer to the people.

In the past 10 years, Odisha has received huge funds from the Union government. Massive improvement of railways, opening of skill centres and other infrastructure have brought about significant changes in the State.

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