Odisha Congress MLA Prakash Chandra Behara joins BJP

Cuttack: Congress MLA from Salepur (Cuttack) Prakash Chandra Behera joined BJP on Sunday, a day after he quit the Congress party.

He joined the party in the presence of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and recently-appointed national vice president Baijayanta Panda.

“I joined BJP because I trust the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah,” Behera said after joining the party. “The biggest thing is that air stikes have made youth happy. I promise that I will work for the party whole-heartedly,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Pradhan said, “His (Behara’s) contribution to the BJP will impact the politics in Odisha and Lok Sabha elections in the Kendrapda constituency. Behera left Congress two days after the last visit of Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Odisha. This tells a lot about the situation of Congress in Odisha.”

Baijayanta Panda, on the other hand, termed Behara’s entry into the BJP as ‘a tremendous strength for the party in Coastal Odisha’.

Behera resigned from Congress party on Saturday citing ‘neglect’ and humiliation by the party leadership.

In his resignation letter to the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said,” “In spite of my appeal to the PCC president, my grievance was not considered duly by the PCC. I was all along working for the Congress party for the last 20 years. The Congress party off late has neglected me. Therefore with a heavy heart, I am resigning from the primary membership of the Congress party.”

Several senior leaders from various parties have defected to the BJP in the past a few days.

On Saturday, Balabhadra Majhi, a sitting BJD MP from the Nabarangpur in Odisha joined BJP.

Panda, a former BJD leader himself, joined the BJP on March 4. He had resigned from the BJD around nine months ago after differences cropped between him and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Assembly elections for the 147 member-strong Legislative Assembly of Odisha will be conducted between April 11 and April 29 in four phases along with the Lok Sabha elections, while counting of votes will take place on May 23.

The term for Odisha Assembly ends on June 11.