Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 3:
A brief remark by Odisha Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik today, has set tongues wagging that the regional party in the present scenario in the aftermath of receiving a battering in the recently concluded panchayat polls, to strengthen its organization before the 2019 polls, is considering taking back into its fold, leaders who were either expelled or had left the party at some point in time for a variety of reasons.
“It will be taken on a case by case basis,” commented Patnaik replying to a query by a reporter whether he would take back those who had left the party.
The BJD supremo made the comment while briefing reporters after a meeting with elected panchayati raj institution (PRI) representatives of Kalahandi district here today in the party office.
If we go by the buzz, prominent among those the BJD is planning to get back into its fold are Prafulla Ghadei, Dillip Ray, Bijoy Mohapatra, Raghunath Mohanty and Panchanan Kanungo.
Senior BJD leader and Excise Minister Damodar Rout has welcomed Patnaik’s statement and said the move would further strengthen the party.
“There are several leaders like Dillip Ray, Bijoy Mohapatra, Prafulla Ghadei if they want to return to the party and our party president Naveen Patnaik will agree to get them back, there can be nothing more welcome than that,” said Rout commenting on Patnaik’s remark.
“We will certainly request senior leaders who were once part of BJD to extend their cooperation to strengthen the party organization,” said Dibya Sankar Mishra, BJD MLA from Junagarh.
Former Finance Minister and one-time BJD strong man Prafulla Ghadei has welcomed Patnaik’s remark. Ghadei said though BJD has distanced him, he has not distanced himself from the BJD and is still working for it.