The trend has started in a big way after Bhupinder Singh quit Congress and joined BJD

As party-hopping by leaders of different parties continued in the State ahead of the polls, the ruling Biju Janata Dal welcomed into its fold Adikanda Sethi, CPI legislator from Chhatrapur Assembly constituency in Ganjam district on Sunday.

Mr. Sethi, who was suspended from the CPI on Saturday amid speculation about his joining the BJD, formally joined the ruling party in the presence of Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas here.

Mr. Sethi was earlier denied the CPI ticket for Chhatrapur and another leader was named the party candidate in his place. He is likely to contest as a BJD candidate from Chhatrapur.

Mr. Sethi had contested and won from Chhatrapur Assembly segment in 2009 when the BJD had seat sharing arrangement with CPI. There has been no seat sharing arrangement between the BJD and CPI this time.

In another development, Odisha Janmorcha vice-president and former Mayor of Bhubaneswar Mihir Mohanty and Janmorcha general secretary Bhagirathi Kar also joined the BJD during the day.

Mr. Patnaik told presspersons that he was happy that both Mr. Mohanty and Mr. Kar had returned to the party and this helps in strengthening the party.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha State unit president Sudam Marandi, Nationalist Congress Party leader Arun Dey and well-known music director Manmath Mishra had joined the BJD on Saturday.

With the BJD remaining ahead of the remaining parties in terms of winning prospects, leaders from almost all parties have been quitting and rushing to Naveen Niwas to join the BJD.

The trend had started in a big way after former Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh quit Congress and joined the BJD.

Hema Gamang, former Member of Parliament and wife of former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang, had also visited Naveen Niwas on Saturday and announced that she had joined the BJD after her meeting with Mr. Patnaik. However, BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das told presspersons on Sunday that they were yet to take a final decision about inducting Ms. Gamang into the BJD. If the BJD welcomes Ms. Gamang, she may contest from Koraput Lok Sabha seat against her husband who would be the Congress candidate for the seat.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and former legislator from Deogarh Assembly seat Nitesh Ganga Deb on Sunday joined the BJP at the party State headquarters here in the presence of party’s State unit president K.V. Singh Deo.

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