Bhubaneswar: In a jolt to the BJP that is making preparations for the upcoming Bijepur bypolls, the party's Bargarh district president Narayan Sahu on Tuesday resigned from the party and announced his decision to join the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on 3 December.
The state BJP unit, however, maintained that the district president was expelled for his anti-BJP activities and named Arupananda Sahu as his replacement.
Sahu met BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence early on Tuesday, before announcing the decision.
"The BJP is a party that lacks ideology. My selfless dedication towards the party from 1997 to 2017 was of no value. So, I decided to join the BJD," he told reporters.
Sahu said he had been a part of the BJD earlier and rejoining the party was more like a 'homecoming' for him.
"Even Biju Babu had offered me ticket when I was with the BJD. I believe in selfless work and service to people. Joining the party is more like a homecoming for me," Sahu said.
Meanwhile, BJP state president Basant Panda in a statement said Sahu has been expelled from the party for his anti-party activities and his ouster will have no impact on the bypolls.
Rejecting Sahu's allegations, Panda said, "The BJP doesn't depend on any one individual but respects its party workers. It (Sahu's exit) will have no impact on the party's prospects in the ensuing bypoll in Bijepur."
In October, too, Sahu had offered to resign from his post after former Bijepur MLA and BJD leader Ashok Panigrahi joined the BJP at a special function in Barpali in the presence of two Union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram.
Bargarh district comprises five Assembly constituencies including Bijepur. The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu in August. The Election Commission is yet to announce the date for the bypoll.
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2017 17:11:57 IST