PURI: The BJP received a major jolt as its senior leader Krushna Chandra Panda along with his supporters resigned from the party on Sunday.
Panda was the designated BJP candidate for Puri Assembly seat which he had unsuccessfully contested in the 2014 elections. He had been given green signal by the party to begin campaigning in the constituency. However, the party ticket was given to Jayant Kumar Sarangi who had switched from BJD to the saffron party, at the last hour.
Peeved, Panda and his supporters carried out a signature campaign and presented it to the party high command. They pointed out that Sarangi came to BJP after being denied a ticket by BJD from Satyabadi. It would be detrimental for BJP’s poll prospects, they rued.
BJP’s Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra had approached the party higher-ups to resolve the issue amicably but his initiatives proved futile. Though Panda has not clarified on his future course of action, sources said he is likely to join BJD. Meanwhile, Sarangi has started campaigning in the constituency where sitting MLA Maheswar Mohanty is seeking his sixth consecutive term and is stated to be way ahead of his rivals.
Similar situation prevails in Congress which denied ticket to Binayak Dasmahapatra and fielded Auro Prasad Mishra instead. The party’s former councilor Nrusingh Charan Sahu along with his hundreds of followers had recently joined BJD.