Coming as a major jolt to Naveen Patnaik led BJD’s electoral plans, Damodar Raut, senior Odisha leader has jumped ships to join the BJP. Damador Raut is a veteran Odisha politician and is also considered a close confidant of the late Biju Patnaik. The move of Damodar Raut comes after he had raised concerns over financial irregularities in some of the state government departments and criticized Navin Patnaik over his governance in Odisha, as a result of which he was removed from the party in September last year.
“After a lot of mental exercise, I joined the BJP today. Late Biju Patnaik had brought me to politics and his sole agenda was to work for the people but things changed after his demise and Naveen Patnaik became the chief minister. He (Naveen Patnaik) has no love and affection for the people of Odisha. His government is dipped in corruption. It’s the duty of a minister to curb corruption but even after repeated complaints, Naveen didn’t take any action against the corrupt people and continued supporting them,” said Raut.
The 72-year-old senior leader, who has held over 20 portfolios in his long career including Agriculture and Health added that he joined BJP because he believed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi can only deliver “good governance” in the state of Odisha .
Damodar Raut joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, the newly inducted party national vice-president Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and Legislative Party Leader KV Singh Deo.
Welcome to @BJP4India Dr. Damodar Rout!
Your decades with Biju uncle & long yrs in his cabinet & also his son's, did not aid you agnst harrassment when you exposed corruption at highest levels last yr & were expelled from BJD.
Look fwd to working together for Odisha's revival?
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) March 14, 2019
In another setback sitting Nabarangpur MP, Balabhadra Majhi resigned from the BJD on Thursday.
“I have tendered my resignation from the primary membership of the BJD as I felt ignored, neglected and cheated. I presumed the party no more requires me,” Majhi told reporters.
“Somewhere, a gap has developed between me and you…may be designed by some persons envious of my achievements. I was kept out of discussions and deliberations in the organization. I am sure some people have misled you and now I feel cheated,” Majhi wrote in his resignation letter which he submitted to the political secretary of the party leader as he was unable to meet him.
Perpetual abandoning and jumping of ships from the BJD, has given a major boost to BJP’s electoral plans in the upcoming assembly and national elections, where BJP is already expected to outperform the BJD. On different Opinion polls giving a considerable edge to NDA in the upcoming elections , BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said “People of the state have lost confidence in both BJD and the Congress which is the B-team of the ruling party in Odisha, so the reports on the rising support to the BJP is an indicator of party’s success in its 120 mission.”
Mass strategic defections come after senior leader and ex-MP from Odisha Bijayant ‘Jay’ Panda joined the BJP, which experts believed is aiding the BJP in making deep inroads inside the state polity. BJP by attracting leaders from other parties have created an unfavorable atmosphere among BJD and Congress in the state. With senior leaders gauging the winds in favor of the BJP, mass shifting of allegiance by BJD and Congress party cadre in the state is also expected to translate into electoral losses for the BJD and Congress, Senior leaders are not left untouched pondering over BJP’s rising popularity in the state. With just a few weeks remaining for the elections, these defections come as a major boost to the BJP.