Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday revoked an order expelling former party leader Prafulla Ghadei, prompting speculation that he may contest the upcoming Assembly or Lok Sabha elections that will be simultaneously held in the state.
A five-term MLA from Sukinda Assembly constituency, Ghadei had served as the state’s finance minister. In 2014, he was expelled by Patnaik for unfavourable remarks on the CM’s mental competency which were published in an Odiya daily.
The Sukinda seat is currently held by Ghadei’s son, Pritiranjan Ghadei of the BJD. Ghadei’s potential return is seen as the next significant development after former BJD leader Dilip Ray paid a visit to Naveen Patnaik’s residence on Saturday.
Ghadei and Ray are two members of the “old Biju Parivar”, of which leaders are now being poached by the BJP. Former BJD minister and Biju Patnaik colleague Damodar Rout recently joined the saffron party, vowing to “unseat” Patnaik at any cost.
As per sources, BJP is concentrating on inducting “old Biju Parivar” heavyweights to strengthen its argument that the “BJD has departed from its high ideals and is now beset by corruption, inefficiency and lack of internal democracy”.
Last year, Rout had alleged that Ghadei was making moves to return to BJD because “he knows that it is easy to be corrupt in that party”. Ghadei had rubbished the charges.