Odisha BJP leader accuses party of ignoring him before bypoll

After the BJP named Sanat Gartia as its candidate for the bypoll to the Bijepur Assembly seat in Odisha’s Bargarh district, slated to be held on October 21, senior party leader in the state, Ashok Panigrahi, has accused the saffron party of ignoring him.

Bhubaneswar: After the BJP named Sanat Gartia as its candidate for the bypoll to the Bijepur Assembly seat in Odisha’s Bargarh district, slated to be held on October 21, senior party leader in the state, Ashok Panigrahi, has accused the saffron party of ignoring him.

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Panigrahi, who had defected from the BJD in 2018 and lost the Bijepur bypoll that year to Rita Sahu of Odisha’s ruling party, alleged on Monday he is not being informed about or involved in party activities in the Assembly segment.

Gartia had lost to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the bypoll to the seat this year.

Bijepur bypoll has been necessitated after Patnaik resigned from the seat and retained the Hinjili Assembly segment in Ganjam district, from where he had won too.

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Asked about whether he is planning to quit BJP, Panigrahi said, “I would decide after consulting my supporters, who had suggested me to quit BJD and join the saffron party in 2018.”

However, BJP state General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan dismissed Panigrahi’s allegation and said the party will speak to him if there is any difference in opinion.

Earlier, another senior BJP leader, Damodar Rout, had made similar allegations against the party, saying he was not being involved in programmes after he lost the elections.

Meanwhile, political parties have started campaigning for the bypoll to the Bijepur Assembly seat.

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