Ashok Panigrahi quits BJP, may join BJD- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Putting to rest all speculations, senior BJP leader Ashok Panigrahi on Saturday quit from the primary membership of the party after his candidature for the Bijepur by-election was ignored.

Though the senior leader did not reveal his future course of action, sources maintained that he is likely to meet Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik soon in a bid to join the party ahead of the by-poll. It will be a homecoming for the senior leader if he joins the ruling BJD again.

Panigrahi was elected on a BJD ticket from Bijepur Assembly constituency in 2000.

Panigrahi had resigned from BJD and joined BJP in 2018 after the regional outfit did not consider his claim for a ticket to contest by-poll from the Bijepur constituency during the year.

Sources maintained that Panigrahi was in touch with some BJD leaders before resigning from the BJP. But, Panigrahi rejected such talks and stated that he quit from the party as he was continuously ignored by the State leadership.

Panigrahi, who sent his resignation letter to State president Basanta Panda on Saturday, alleged that BJP adopted an ‘use and throw’ attitude towards him.

“The party leadership did not take me into confidence before taking any decision,” he said and added that he was not given any responsibility during this year’s general election.

Asked about his future course of action, the senior leader said he would decide after discussion with supporters.

“Before election I won’t join anywhere. As far as any chance of rejoining BJD is concerned, there is no such proposal now,” he said.

A few days back Panigrahi had dismissed all speculations of him joining BJD by resigning from BJP.

However, senior BJP leader Pradip Purohit maintained that resignation of Panigrahi will have no impact on the outcome of the by-poll.

On the other hand, several senior leaders and workers who left BJP after he (Panigrahi) was made a candidate in 2018 by-poll will return to the party fold, he said.

After his defeat in the 2018 by-poll, Panigrahi was denied ticket for the 2019 general election as the party had nominated Sanat Gartia for the election from Bijepur Assembly seat.

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