Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Basta, Mar 26:
After threatening to file his nomination as an independent candidate following the denial of the party ticket to him, former Odisha cabinet minister and sitting BJD MLA from Basta Raghunath Mohanty chickened out at the last minute on the last day of nominations today.
According to reliable sources, Mohanty’s decision came after a call from an aide of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik warning him that his whole family would be put behind bars if he went ahead and filed his nomination, which would have caused great embarrassment to the ruling party.
Mohanty, it may be noted, has been implicated in a dowry torture case filed by his daughter-in-law Barsa Swony Choudhury and is currently out on bail.
Soon after deciding not to file his nomination, Mohanty went incommunicado. As the deadline for close of nominations neared, desperate supporters, who had egged him on to contest, made frantic calls to him, only to find his mobile switched off.
According to reports, a meeting was held at the residence of Mohanty till late last night where his supporters urged him to file his nomination as an independent. Sources close to the former Basta MLA said he had agreed to contest as independent candidate only if he got the support of the BJP and dissident BJD and Congress workers.