Published On: Sat, Mar 30th, 2019

Another sitting BJD MP quits party, joins BJP

Bhubaneswar: In a jolt to the ruling BJD ahead of the Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly elections, party’s sitting MP and former Union Minister Arjun Sethi resigned from the regional outfit Saturday and joined the BJP.

Former Union Minister and eight-time MP Arjun Sethi today resigned from BJD and joined BJP.

Sethi an eight-time MP from Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency resigned from the BJD after he was denied a party ticket to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Sethi was the fourth sitting MP who quit the BJD ahead of the polls. The three others were: Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi, Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh and Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo.

All of them have quit the BJD protesting denial of renomination to contest the forthcoming elections. While Mahji and Singh have already joined the BJP, BJD president Naveen Patnaik has not accepted Deo’s resignation.

Earlier last year, BJD’s Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda had quit the BJD and joined the BJP in March 4 this month.

Former BJD MP from Jajpur Lok Sabha seat Mohan Jena, also resigned from the party and joined the BJP along with Bhadrak lawmaker. Sethi’s son Abhimanyu Sethi and some of his supporters also joined the BJP.

Sethi, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971, 1980, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.

This time the BJD had given the ticket for the Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency to Manjulata Mandal, the wife of sitting party MLA Muktikant Mandal.

The 78-year-old Sethi has submitted his resignation letter to Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. He has also quit as Member of Parliament as well as from the post of Bhadrak district BJD president.

Sethi said “I wanted to meet Naveen Patnaik but was not given an appointment. I waited for four hours but failed to meet him. At this old age, it was embarrassing that I had to wait for so long.”

“I am pained that neither I nor my son was given ticket to contest in the ensuing polls,” Sethi told reporters. He claimed that Patnaik had earlier assured him to consider his candidature or giving ticket to his son.

Bhadrak Youth BJD president Durga Prasanna Das, a supporter of Sethi, also resigned from the party.

Sethi was Union Water Resources Minister in the A B Vajpayee government from 2000 to 2004.

Sources said the BJP may field Sethi or his son Abhimanyu from Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat.

The BJP was yet to announce the names of its candidates from Bhadrak (SC), Jagatsinghpur (SC), Jajpur (SC) and Mayurbhanj (ST) Lok Sabha seats.

At least five sitting MLAs have also resigned from the BJD and joined BJP following denial of renomination.

The BJD has expelled three leaders from the party for anti-party activities ahead of the polls in Odisha.

“BJD president Naveen Patnaik today expelled Siba Prasad Gouda and K Ramkrishna from Gunupur constituency in Rayagada. Besides, Kanhu Singh from Banki constituency in Cuttack district has also been expelled from the party. The trio has been expelled from the party for their indulgence in anti-party activities,” BJD state secretary Bijay Nayak said in a release.

PTI

About the Author