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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

BJD’s numbers grow in season of turncoats

Since last month, it has been an open season for turncoat politicians in Orissa. They all seem to head to BJD.

Bhubaneswar |
March 12, 2014 2:02:56 am

For last five years and probably even before that, former Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh never lost an opportunity to hit out at Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. But last Saturday, many rolled their eyes in disbelief as the 61-year-old Punjabi MLA from Kalahandi fed sweets to Naveen Patnaik and announced that he has joined Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Naveen, in turn, fed him sweets declaring him an “asset” for the 17-year-old regional party.

“A coterie is running the Congress. The CLP chief was being ignored in all the major decisions,” Singh said soon after joining the BJD. Singh’s son, Daljeet joined BJD along with Anup Sai, Congress MLA from Jharsuguda district.

Incidentally, in December 2012, Singh had described Naveen as a “Hitler and killer of democracy” as he burst out over the Assembly Speaker’s decision not to accept a debate on farmers’ problems.

Since last month, it has been an open season for turncoat politicians in Orissa. They all seem to head to BJD, which all pre-poll surveys expect to romp home with over 100 seats in the 147-membered Assembly and win over 15 Lok Sabha seats from the 21 at stake.

The influx to BJD opened with Champua Congress MLA Jitu Patnaik and Talcher MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan joining the party just before last month’s Rajya Sabha polls. Soon after, Nayagarh district president of Congress Kumar Hemendra Singh joined. Hemendra is now tipped to be BJD’s Lok Sabha candidate from Puri. After him, former BJD minister Kamala Das, who left to join Congress after coming under “shadow of corruption” and former MLA Umesh Swain joined BJD.

Tuesday, Orissa Pradesh Congress secretary Bharati Das and Congress state spokesperson Ashok Samal resigned from the party. Congress leader Sanatan Mahakud from Keonjhar also quit a few days back to join BJD.

The BJP too has been hit by desertions with its former state president Bimbadhar Kuanra joining BJD on Monday. Kuanra said he was being ignored in the party. Last week, former minister and senior tribal leader of BJP, Golak Nayak, joined BJD. BJP’s tribal affairs morcha chief Antaryami Gamang too joined BJD Tuesday.

Others to have left their parties include Sarat Mishra of Orissa Jana Morcha led by Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Naveen’s mentor-turned-bête noire. Mishra joined BJD.

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