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Two dissident BJP MLAs quit party

The Bharatiya Janata Party received a pre-poll jolt with two of its tribal legislators quiting the party.

The Bharatiya Janata Party received a pre-poll jolt with two of its tribal legislators quiting the party on Thursday even as it is yet to firm up an alliance with the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in April.

Senior tribal legislator from Kesinga(Kalahandi),Dhaneswar Majhi,68,resigned from the primary membership of the party along with Sanand Marandi,MLA from Kuliana in Mayurbhanj district on Wednesday evening. The tribal legislators cited lack of concern of the party leadership for the tribals as the reason behind their resignation from BJP. Both the legislators have sent their resignation letters to assembly Speaker Kishore Mohanty.

Majhi,who won the last election from Kesinga,an unreserved constituency has become the third tribal legislator along with Marandi to quit the BJP after Brundaban Majhi,MLA from Laikera in Sambalpur,resigned last month to join Sammruddha Odisha,a new regional party. In the 2004 assembly polls,14 tribals and 4 Dalits were elected to the Orissa assembly on a BJP ticket.

Headmaster-turned-politician Majhi said in the last 9 years,tribal and Dalit MLAs in BJP have been humiliated and neglected by a few senior leaders in the party. “There are no Yudhisthirs in BJP now. Instead,the number of Duryodhans have gone up,” said Majhi,who made no secret of his intention of joining BJD.

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“I started my politics in Janata Party. In BJP also I am the seniormost among the current crop of leaders. Though I have been elected twice to the assembly defeating Congress heavyweights,why was a first timer like Manmohan Samal made a minister? While there are 14 tribal legislators in BJP,why only one was made a minister? People like Manmohan Samal and Surama Padhi have humiliated us in the past,” Majhi said.

The tribal politician said he has been “assured of a Lok Sabha ticket” by BJD Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

Marandi,who is also likely to join BJD in his resignation letter to the Speaker has said that BJP failed to achieve the goals and ideals with which it was started. “The State leaders are bent on sacrificing the ideals of the party for the sake of money and power,” he wrote.

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Another tribal BJP legislator,Bhaskar Madhei from Uadala constituency in Mayurbhanj district,is also likely to quit BJP,BJD party sources said.

First published on: 05-03-2009 at 12:48:00 pm
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