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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 12:

Senior leader of Odisha BJP Bijoy Mohapatra today hinted at staying away from panchayat poll campaign of his party after his name was not included in the first set of star campaigners released by the party yesterday.

Bijoy Mohapatra

“There are 40 established leaders of the state in the star campaigner list. It is no small thing. Let them campaign. There is no room left for us to campaign. I want to thank the man who is behind this act,” said Mohapatra sarcastically without naming the leader.

Several political analysts familiar with the developments in BJP, however, unanimously pointed it towards Dharmendra Pradhan.

Mohapatra has been avoiding BJP meetings and functions since quite some time. Recently, he had avoided the core team meeting held to finalise the panchayat poll strategy of BJP and Amit Shah’s Bhubaneswar rally.

Dilip Ray, on the other hand, is said to be unhappy after he was denied a chance to address Prime Minister’s rally in his constituency.

“We had missed out on the names of two of our national executive members whereas many other names creeped in. It was a mistake. Bijoy Mohapatra, Dilip Ray, KV Singh Deo, Suresh Pujari, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram, all feature in the new list,” said Odisha BJP President Basant Panda.

It may be mentioned here that BJP yesterday announced a list of 47 star campaigners that excluded veteran Bijoy Mohapatra and Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray initially. However, the list was replaced with another one in the evening with 40 names in it that had both Mohapatra and Ray.

According to a press notification issued by Odisha BJP, its star campaigner list includes state unit president Basant Panda, Leader of Legislature Party KV Singh Deo, both union ministers: Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan, former Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal, party veteran Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Bijoy Mohapatra, MLAs: Dillip Ray, Pradeep Purohit, Rabi Nayak, Radharani Panda, national Secretary Suresh Pujari, actors: Sritam Das and Pinky Pradhan among others.