On Saturday, Arjun Charan Sethi, the 78-year-old Biju Janata Dal MP and a former Union Minister resigned from the regional party after he was denied the ticket to contest in the next Lok Sabha election and has now joined BJP along with his son Abhimanyu Sethi. He is now the fourth lawmaker to have resigned from the party.
The six-time MP submitted his resignation letter to BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. He also quit as the Member of Parliament as well as from the post of Bhadrak district BJD president.
BJD president Naveen Patnaik has replaced him from Bhadrak Lok Sabha Constituency with Manjulata Mandal, wife of sitting party MLA Muktikant Mandal.
“I wanted to meet Naveen Patnaik but was not given an appointment. I waited for four hours but failed to meet him. At this old age, it was embarrassing that I had to wait for so long,” said Sethi.
"I am pained that neither I nor my son was given ticket to contest in the ensuing polls," continued Sethi.
He claimed that Patnaik had earlier assured him to consider his candidature or giving a ticket to his son.
Sethi is not the only one to have resigned, Bhadrak Youth BJD president Durga Prasanna Das, a supporter of Sethi, has also resigned from the party. Apart from them, Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi, Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh and Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo have already resigned from the BJD.
While Majhi and Singh have joined BJP, the BJD president has not accepted the resignation of Arka Keshari Deo.
Sethi was a Union Minister for Water Resources in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ministry from 2000 to 2004.
At least five sitting MLAs have also resigned from the BJD and joined BJP following the denial of renomination. The BJD has also expelled three leaders, Siba Prasad Gouda, K Ramkrishna and Kanhu Singh from the party for anti-party activities ahead of the polls in Odisha.
Elections will be held for 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats simultaneously in four phases in Odisha beginning from April 11.
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(With Inputs from PTI)