Another senior BJD leader joins BJP

Bhubaneswar, Apr 2 (PTI) BJD founding member and former Odisha Minister Raghunath Mohanty joined the BJP on Tuesday, two days after he quit the ruling party.
Mohanty joined the BJP at its state headquarters in presence of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the party’s national vice-president Baijayant Panda, who is a former BJD parliamentarian.
Considered as an influential leader of Balasore district, Mohanty’s move is seen as a setback for the ruling BJD in the run up to the elections.
After resigning from the BJD, Mohanty had alleged that the ruling party had deviated from the legendary leader Biju Patnaik’s ideals, and that the regional outfit was now being run by a group having vested interests.
“Though I was one of the founding members of the BJD, the party leadership has sidelined and ignored me and several other founding members. I felt that the party does not require my services any more. I was hurt and decided to quit,” he said.
A five-time MLA, Mohanty had to resign from the ministry and was suspended from the BJD in March 2013 after he was arrested in a dowry torture case slapped by his daughter-in-law.
He was denied a party ticket in the 2014 assembly polls though he had represented Basta assembly seat for five consecutive terms since 1990.
However, he was reinstated in the party as the vice-president in March 2018 and made the observer of party affairs of Dhenkanal district.
Mohanty’s resignation from the BJD and entry into BJP came after eight-time MP and former Union minister Arjun Sethi quit the party and joined the saffron outfit on Saturday.
Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda had resigned from BJD last year, while Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi and Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh had also resigned from the BJD later.

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