BJD Expels Former Block Chairman Amid Factional Fight In Odisha’s Digapahandi

Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on Friday expelled Bipin Chandra Pradhan, a Zilla Parisad (ZP) member of Digapahandi in Odisha’s Ganjam district for anti-party activities.

This came a day after two factions of the ruling allegedly locked horns and their supporters attempted to barge into the block office following the cancellation of byelection to Digapahandi block chairman post. The voting was cancelled at the last minute after the State Election Commission (SEC) deferred the byelection following a letter from the Ganjam collector, apprehending law and order situation.

Following the death of block chairperson Sunita Sethi two months back, the two factions led by Pradhan and incumbent MLA Surjya Narayan Patro’ son Biplab are eyeing the coveted post. It is believed that the group that wins the post will not only enjoy clout but also get the MLA ticket in the upcoming election as existing legislator Surjya is ailing for quite some time now, sources said.

Former Digapahandi block chairperson, Pradhan is also a close aide of the local legislator. There are 25 panchayats in Digapahandi block, 14 samiti members are from Bipin’s village Bomokai and his supporters claim they have absolute majority.

Digapahandi Assembly segment is considered to be a stronghold of BJD with Surjya winning from the seat since its formation. However, it has been witnessing a violent tussle between the two  factions since the last panchayat elections with at least six BJD supporters being murdered in the segment.

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