The uncertainty over Wednesdays trust vote in the Orissa Assembly continued to drag on as Governor Murlidhar Bhandare remained undecided over the issue. On March 11,Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik claimed to have won the trust vote in a voice vote that was shrouded in controversy. The Opposition alleged that a BJD Rajya Sabha MP had paid money to a few BJP legislators to vote in favour of Naveen Patnaik.
The fate of the trust vote seemed to be in doubt after Bhandare summoned Speaker Kishore Mohanty and Deputy Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra,as he surfed through the video footage of the days proceedings. Both the Congress and the BJP have demanded imposition of Presidents Rule.
On Friday morning,state Congress president K P Singh Deo met Bhandare and reiterated his partys demand for dismissal of the state Government. The CM also met Bhandare on Friday evening,claiming that he had proved his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
The Governor has,on his part,consulted constitutional experts and the state Advocate General. Raj Bhawan sources said the Governor will take some more time to arrive at a decision.
In such a political scenario,the BJD on Friday opened its doors to eight BJP leaders,including four sitting legislators. To add a dash of glamour,it also welcomed Siddhanta Mohapatra,the reigning star of Oriya film industry. He is expected to contest the Assembly polls.
The BJP legislators who joined the party are Brundaban Majhi,Sananda Marandi,Mahesh Sahu and Dhaneswar Majhi. Brundaban had resigned from the BJP to join a nascent political outfit,Sammruddha Odisha,and left it to join the BJD.
Former BJP legislators Ramamurti Gamango,Sadan Nayak,Arabinda Dhali and Bedprakash Agarwal also joined the BJD. Former BJP legislator from Balasore,Jiban Pradip Dash,will join the BJD and has already announced his resignation from the BJP.
Besides,Congressman and former minister Mustafiz Ahmed also joined the BJD,as did Christian leader Swarupananda Patro.
In the 2004 Assembly polls,the BJD had secured a little more than 27 per cent votes and 61 seats. The BJP had won 32 seats with over 17 per cent votes. However,leaders of both the parties said that in 2004,there was a pre-poll alliance and in many places BJP supporters had voted for BJD candidates and vice-versa.
The actual BJP vote percentage will be 12-15 per cent. If the BJD can appropriate half of the BJP votes by acquiring the leaders of its rival,it has a real chance of winning the Assembly polls on its own, said political analyst Rabi Das.