BJD MLA Arabinda Dhali Joins BJP Ahead of Elections, Jolts Party

Sitting MLA Arabinda Dhali leaves BJD, joins BJP ahead of elections.

Update: 2024-03-02 11:15 GMT
Arabinda Dhali
Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Saturday suffered another jolt ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha and Assembly elections as sitting MLA Arabinda Dhali quit the party.

Dhali, who represents Jayadev assembly constituency, will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters here, the five-time MLA Dhali said he sent his resignation letter to party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday informing his decision to resign from the primary membership of the party.

Dhali is one of many top BJD leaders and MLAs who have recently said goodbye to the regional party to join BJP. Recently, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi and former Odisha minister Debasis Nayak have also joined the BJP after leaving BJD. Previously, sitting Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev and Telkoi MLA Premananda Nayak had also quit the party and joined the BJP in Bhubaneswar.

Balabhadra Majhi, another BJD stalwart, had also left BJD in January and joined the Congress. On Thursday, Jagannath Nundruka, a top tribal BJD leader from Rayagada district, had also joined the BJP.

Sources said nearly a dozen of other BJD leaders are planning to quit the party and join the BJP ahead of the polls.

Dhali, who first got into Odisha Legislative Assembly after winning a by-election on BJP ticket from Malkangiri, had joined the BJD in 2006. He had won the 2009 election from Jayadev Assembly Constituency. He again fought from the seat in 2019 and got elected to the Assembly.

“It’s my homecoming. I will explain tomorrow why I left the party,” Dhali said.

Sources said the lawmaker quit the party as he was apprehensive of not getting a ticket this time.

There was no reaction from the BJD on the resignation of Dhali.

Meanwhile, MLA Prashant Jagdev said, “Many leaders in BJD are feeling suffocated as the carbon dioxide of authoritarian rule of Naveen Patnaik has engulfed the organization.”


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