Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the list of 18 more candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections on Friday.
Patnaik tweeted the list speaking about his commitment to serve the people of Odisha.
The leaders contesting for the State Assembly polls are Maheshwar Monty from Puri, Bibhuti Balbantray from Jatani, Debashish Samantray from Barbari Cuttack, Chandrasarthi Behera from Cuttack Sardar and Reena Tanty from Rengali.
BJD which has so far refused to join either the National Democratic alliance (NDA) or the Mahagathbandhan of opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi (INC), Mayawati (BSP). Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and Akhilesh Yadav (SP) among the top, wishes to remain neutral.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik believes that his party will play a pivotal role in government formation this May 2019, since he thinks that no party would secure a full majority of vote in the Lok Sabha 2019 polls.
BJD has recently seen a slew of ministers leave to join BJP .
Since the months leading to the polls, a few BJD leaders have jumped ship to BJP. A couple of BJP leaders have also left the party to join the BJD.
On March 8, 2019, suspended BJD leader and former Lok Sabha member Baijayant Jay Panda who joined the BJP on March 3, 2019 in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was made national vice president and spokesperson of the party.
He had tweeted:
Rishabh Nanda - the son of Rajya Sabha MP Prashanta Nanda joined the BJP on March 21, 2019 in the presence of newly appointed BJP vice-president Jay Panda at Bhubaneshwar.
In complete contrast, Duryodhan Majhi – a sitting MLA from Khariar quit BJP and rejoined his former party BJD ahead of the Lok Sabha elections on 24 March 2019.
Continuing the trend of flipping parties, on Friday, BJP leader Bhagirathi Sethi joined the BJD ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Odisha will vote in four phases on April 11,18,13 and 29 in the 21 Lok Sabha elections., The state will also see Assembly polls on April 11.
(With Inputs from ANI)