Bhubaneswar: Ever since Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) announced Bijepur by-poll candidate in the form of Rita Sahu following demise of her husband Subal Sahu, ticket aspirant and former MLA Ashok Panigrahi had been sulking for ‘dedicated workers’ being overlooked.
While his accusations of pitting him against Prasanna Acharya as a conspiracy didn’t pay any political mileage to him, the disgruntled leader today announced to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
As per sources, Panigrahi would be inducted into the saffron fold during a ‘mishran parv’ to be held at Jagannath Nagar in Barpalli on October 2.
I have taken this decision to join BJP after holding discussion with people of Bijepur. I will formally join the party on October 2, Ashok Panigrahi said.
Panigrahi had alleged that Kalpataru Das had asked him to contest elections in 2014 as an Independent candidate against Prasanna Acharya who eventually lost the election.
When asked, party supremo Naveen Patnaik rejected the claims outright saying it as “completely untrue”.
Congress candidate Subal Sahu won from the assembly segment on a Congress ticket for the third consecutive time.
However, Sahu’s demise recently necessitated the by-poll and the deceased’s family members joining the BJD fanned discontent among certain section of the party.
Initially, Prasanna Acharya rejected the possibility of Sahu’s kin joining the party even though the speculation was all over the regional media.
Acharya had said that no formal decision had been taken on the issue, a day ahead of the announcement dealing an embarrassment to the parliamentarian.
Soon after, Ashok Panigrahi – suspended from BJD in 2014 – came out in the open claiming stake to the ticket.
Running out of options to turn the tables in his favour, a determined Panigrahi is learnt to have decided to saffron party to contest the by-election from the Bijepur constituency.
Notably, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today claimed that his party nominee would come out victorious in the by-poll.