Former Odisha Minister Debasis Nayak Joins BJP After Quitting BJD Ahead Of Elections

Bhubaneswar: With elections barely a few months away, former Odisha Minister Debasis Nayak joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday, hours after resigning from ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

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Nayak, a four-time MLA from Bari constituency in Jajpur district, joined the saffron party at a special programme in the presence of BJP’s Odisha unit president, Manmohan Samal and other senior leaders.

Welcoming the former Minister, Samal said Nayak’s entry into the saffron party would further strengthen the organisation in Jajpur and adjoining areas of the state.

Earlier, in a letter to BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the four-time MLA conveyed his decision to resign from the primary membership of regional party with immediate effect. “With a heavy heart, I am submitting my resignation with immediate effect. Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to serve the people of Odisha as well as the party,” Nayak wrote in his letter to Naveen.

The ex-Minister had been elected to the state Assembly from Bari constituency in Jajpur four times in a row from 2000 to 2014.

Once among the trusted aides of the Chief Minister, Nayak served as the officer-on-special duty during Naveen’s stint as Union steel and mines minister in the then Atal Behari Vajpayee-led government. He served as the minister for Sports and Youth services and Information and Public Relations in the state during the 2nd term of Naveen as the CM of Odisha.

In 2008, he was, however, shunned from the council of ministers following a controversy.

In May 2011, he was suspended from the party for questioning the BJD supremo’s style of functioning and the rationale behind expelling founder-members of the party. His suspension was revoked in July 2012. However, he was denied BJD ticket in 2019 Assembly elections, when the party fielded Sunanda Das from Bari and she won the seat.

Sources said Nayak decided to quit BJD as he felt neglected and sidelined in the party.

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