Former BJD MLA Panigrahi joins BJP

first_imgFormer Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Ashok Kumar Panigrahi formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party at a public meeting in Bargarh district here on Monday.Mr. Panigrahi, who was elected to the State Assembly in 2000 on a BJD ticket, had been suspended from the party after he contested the 2014 elections as an independent candidate from the Bijepur Assembly constituency, leading to the defeat of BJD’s official candidate Prasanna Acharya.He is likely to be the BJP’s nominee in the upcoming by-poll for the Bijepur seat.The by-poll has been necessitated following the death of sitting Congress legislator Subal Sahu in August.Entry opposedMr. Panigrahi was welcomed into the saffron party’s fold by several senior leaders of the party, including Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, and BJP’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and State BJP president Basant Panda.President of BJP’s Bargarh district unit Narayan Sahu, who has opposed Mr. Panigrahi’s entry into their party, was absent at the meeting.Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that Mr. Panigrahi’s joining the BJP will have no impact on the BJD’s electoral prospects in Bijepur. The CM has already announced that he will personally campaign for Ritarani Sahu, widow of Subal Sahu, who recently joined the BJD along with her son and a large number of Congress workers.While addressing the gathering on the occasion of ‘Misran Parv’ (joining celebration), Union Tribal Affairs Minister Oram accused the BJD and Mr. Patnaik of luring Sahu’s family members with the aim to capture the Bijepur assembly segment. (With PTI inputs)last_img

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