Ashok Panigrahi quits BJP ahead of Bijepur bypoll

Bhubaneswar:  After days of speculations,  senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former MLA  Ashok Panigrahi on Saturday resigned from the primary membership of the saffron party ahead of crucial Bijepur by-poll in Odisha.

Speaking to Kalinga TV, Panigrahi said, ” I have been sidelined in BJP by the State leadership. Even my name was not enlisted in the list of star campaigner of the party for the Bijepur Assembly by-election.”

“I have not decided to join any party immediately but I will take a decision after consulting people of my region,” he added.

In 2000, Panigrahi had contested from Bijepur Assembly  constituency on BJP ticket  and won the election. Later, he joined BJD. However,  he quit the ruling BJD after he was denied ticket during 2014 general elections.

Panigrahi again joined the saffron party during Bijepur bypoll in 2018 and unsuccessfully contested the election. He was defeated by BJD candidate Rita Sahu.

In 2019 general elections, Panigrahi was denied party ticket  for which he openly criticized the BJP leadership.

The by-poll to Bijepur Assembly constituency will be held on October 21. The counting of votes will be held on October 24.

The by-poll was necessitated after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who won from both Bijepur and Hinjili Assembly Constituencies, vacated the Bijepur seat.

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