Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 8:
In a dramatic development that is bound to send shock waves across political circles, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) secretary Anup Sai joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today.
The desertion by two top leaders has come as a huge setback to the Congress, the main opposition party in the state.
It was all the more surprising because as recently as Monday, Bhupinder had resurfaced from a four-day hibernation to repudiate talk of his quitting the Congress and joining BJD. He had said he had not resigned from the party and had laid the blame squarely on the media for circulating such stories.
Both leaders announced their decision to join the ruling party after a meeting with Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas around noon today.
Welcoming them to the party, BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik said he was ‘delighted’ to have them in the BJD and they will be ‘tremendous assets’ to the party.
Bhupinder Singh said he had resigned from the primary membership of the Congress party after he realised the party was being used by a coterie to promote their personal interests. He said he would explain everything in a press conference later today.
Daljeet Singh, son of Bhupinder Singh, too joined the BJD along with his father.
Sources said while Anup Sai was in touch with the BJD leaders for quite some time, Bhupinder Singh chose to jump the fence only recently following his humiliation at the hands of Congress high command over ‘deals’ in the last Rajya Sabha polls, sources close to him said.