BJD's fort crumbling: Turncoat MP

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 31 (PTI) Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, who recently joined the BJP after quitting the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), on Sunday claimed that the ruling party's fort in Odisha is "crumbling" and it has already realised that.


Mahtab returned to Odisha on Sunday after joining the BJP in New Delhi on March 28. He was accorded a grand welcome at the Bhubaneswar airport, from where he went to the BJP state headquarters in a rally of motorcycles and four-wheelers.

Speaking to reporters, Mahtab said, "The ruling BJD has realised that its downfall has started. Odisha is going to witness a change in June (election result)... people of the state will show that." On his joining the BJP, the six-time MP said he was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice during an alliance between the BJD and BJP.

"So, BJP and its leaders are not new to me," he said.


"Though I have contested past elections on the symbol of a particular party (conch of BJD), I was elected due to the joint efforts of BJP and BJD in 1998, 1999 and 2004," he pointed out.

Stating that the BJD was formed to fight against corruption, Mahtab said after 25 years of BJD rule, "corruption is so high at the government level that it seems that Congress rule has returned to Odisha".

On BJP's preparedness for the elections, he said the party has its cadre in all villages and panchayats.


The party workers will take up 'Modi's guarantee' to the village-level during the election campaign, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always emphasised 'Purvodaya', focused development of eastern India. Without Odisha's development, India cannot progress, Mahtab said.

"There is no doubt that Modiji will again become the PM. At the same time, there is a need for change in Odisha. Otherwise, the holistic development of the state cannot be carried out. The BJP is working hard in this direction," he said.


Hitting out at the BJD, of which he was a founder member, Mahtab said that the regional party was formed to give a stable government to the people of Odisha and develop the state.

However, the BJD government has failed to do so even after the Centre has provided all resources to the state according to its demand in the last 10 years, he alleged.

"Now, the BJD is no longer a party, it has become a one-man organisation. One person is giving all directions and others are following those like his servant," he claimed.


The MP ascertained that the people will unseat the BJD government from power in the elections.

Meanwhile, taking a dig at the opposition BJP, ruling BJD MP Sasmit Patra claimed that the saffron party is struggling to find suitable candidates for the 147 assembly seats in the state.

"Though the BJP has announced its candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha seats, it is struggling to declare nominee of a single assembly seat," Patra said.


The BJD, on the other hand, has already announced 72 of the 147 candidates for the assembly elections, he said.

Patra alleged that the BJP is looking for leaders rejected by other political parties in order to field them as its candidates.

"The BJP is in a helpless state and is looking for leaders who indulged in anti-people and criminal activities and were removed from other parties," he said.

Patra's allegations were dismissed by senior BJP leader and former state party chief Samir Mohanty.

He said that the party "does not require any certificate from others about its capability" as 4.5 crore people of the state are aware of its strength.

"The BJP will declare its candidates for assembly polls at an appropriate time," Mohanty said, adding that the party candidates will give a formidable fight to the ruling BJD in the elections. PTI BBM AAM AAM ACD