BHUBANESWAR: Former Union minister Dilip Ray, who resigned from the BJP last year, met senior BJP leader and party’s nominee from Patkura, Bijay Mohapatra, at Kendrapara on Thursday sparking speculation of his return to the saffron party. Ray, who resigned from the BJP along with Mohapatra in November last year alleging that they were ignored by the party’s state leadership, said he will decide the future course of action after elections are over.
“I have come here to wish good luck to Bijay who is a good friend of mine. I am with him and will extend all possible help in this election,” Ray told reporters after the meeting.Without giving specific reply on his joining the BJP, Ray said he will discuss the issue with Mohapatra after May 25. The Patkura Assembly constituency will go to polls in the last phase, on April 29.
He, however, gave enough hints of his return to the saffron fold saying that he was happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled his two demands. “I had left BJP over two issues. Construction of second bridge over river Brahmani and upgradation of Ispat General Hospital (IGH) to superspecialty hospital and medical college. The two demands have been fulfilled by the Prime Minister,” he said.
While work for the second bridge over Brahmani has just started, the Centre has allocated `100 crore out of `300 crore promised for IGH, Ray said.On April 11, he thanked the Prime Minister through a tweet for allocation of funds for the two projects. “After a prolonged phase of disappointment, the status report and reassurance by the Prime Minister regarding Brahmani bridge and IGH have come as a ray of hope that will to much extent dispel the cloud of uncertainty,” Ray tweeted.
Elected from Rourkela Assembly seat in 2014, Ray had resigned from the Assembly after tendering resignation to BJP president Amit Shah. He met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on March 16, sparking speculation that he may re-join the regional party. However, the speculation died down as nothing of that sort happened.