Odisha: MLA Pradeep Panigrahi’s Possible Entry Into BJP Draws Flak From BJD

Berhampur: Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, who was expelled from BJD in 2000 for anti-party activities, has created a political stir in Odisha’s Ganjam district over his possible move to join BJP.

Though neither BJP has made announcement to take Pradeep into its fold nor the MLA issued any statement in this regard, the BJD has strongly criticised the saffron party for its double standards.

The ruling party’s Berhampur MLA Bikram Panda, at a presser here on Saturday, severely criticised the BJP as a party with no policy and ideology. The BJP, which had earlier resorted to agitation against Pradeep, has expressed soft corner for him, he said.

“Pradeep has swindled huge amount of money from the job aspirants of Gopalpur Assembly constituency by posing his would-be son-in-law as the Managing Director of Tata Motors. The cases in this regard ate still pending in various police stations. Besides, he had collected crores of rupees from the liquor and sand mafia and was leading a luxurious life,” Panda alleged.

He lamented that BJP leader Bibhuti Bhushan Jena, who had unsuccessfully fought against Pradeep in the last Assembly election and criticised the latter for his misdeeds, is now ready to accept the tainted leader.

“The BJP is not able to groom and nourish new leaders and wants to project the leaders who have already been discarded by other parties,” the BJD MLA said.

“It is a paradox is that the BJP, which was demanding arrest of Pradeep earlier, is now ready to accept him as a member of the party,” he added.

On the other hand, BJP leader Bibhuti Bhushan Jena said no one is untouched for his party. “The wrangling between Pradeep and BJD leaders is their internal affairs. Bikram, who has questioned the principles and ideology of BJP, must introspect first. BJD leaders and the entire state administration have bowed down to a former bureaucrat. We cannot learn lessons about the ethics of principles and ideology from the leaders who have already surrendered to a former bureaucrat,” Bibhuti said.

Pradip was arrested by the Crime Branch on December 3, 2020 for his alleged involvement in a job fraud case and was released on bail in June, 2021. He was expelled from BJD’s primary membership on December 4, 2020.

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