Bhubaneswar: Former Odisha BJP president and ex-minister Bimbadhar Kuanr today joined the ruling BJD. Alleging negligence in BJP, Kuanr resigned from the BJP earlier in the day. “I was ignored and neglected by the state BJP leadership,” Kuanr told reporters here. Kuanr alleged though he was in the core committee and member of the candidate selection committee, he was ignored by the state leadership.
Sources said Kuanr was interested to conest from the Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. However, his application was rejected and Bajrang Dal’s former national convenor Subhas Chohan was named as the BJP candidate for the seat. “I am delighted that Bimbadhar Kuanr has joined the BJD. I hope, he will prove to be a tremendous asset for the party. We will work together,” BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik told reporters. Kuanr was the state labour and employment minister in the first BJD-BJP coalition government headed by Naveen Patnaik in 2000.
Prior to Kuanr, another former minister and prominent tribal leader Golak Naik from the Mayurbhanj district had also joined the BJD after resigning from the BJP. Meanwhile, BJP’s sitting MLA from Khariar Hitesh Bagarti has refused to contest the ensuing Assembly elections even though he was been renominated by the party. Bagarti, sources said, was interested to contest the Lok Sabha elections instead. “We will discuss with Bagarti,” BJP state president K V Singhdeo told reporters. Amid the recent desertions, former minister Ramakrushna Patnaik along with his daughter, met BJP state president Singhdeo yesterday. Patnaik and his wife Kumudini Patnaik, who is an ex-MP, had last week resigned from the Congress. “Ramakrushna Patnaik has met me. We had discussion on different issues. I am waiting for his reply,” Singhdeo said.