Bhubaneswar: In a fresh jolt to ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha, its senior leader Raghunath Mohanty Sunday resigned from it and accused it of having deviated from the ideals of legendary leader Biju Patnaik.
Mohanty, who was vice-president of the ruling BJD, said he has sent a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik coveying his decision to resign from the primary membership of the regional party.
“I am tendering my resignation from the primary membership as well as vice-presidentship of BJD for personal reasons,” Mohanty said in his resignation letter.
He is, however, believed to have quit the party after sensing denial of ticket to contest from his home turf of Basta assembly seat in Balasore district.
Alleging that BJD has deviated from Biju Patnaik’s ideals, he said it is now being run by a group having vested interests.
“Though I was one of the founding members of the BJD and served as a dedicated worker, the party leadership sidelined and ignored me and several other founding members. I felt that the party no more required my services. I felt hurt. Therefore, I decided to resign in order to keep self respect and pride of the people of Balasore intact,” he said.
To a query, Mohanty said he had met Chief Minister Patnaik, who is also the BJD President, and submitted his resignation as chairman of Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation.
A five-time MLA, Mohanty had to resign from the ministry and was suspended from the BJD in March 2013 after he was arrested in a dowry torture case slapped by his daughter-in-law. He was denied the party ticket in the 2014 assembly polls though he had represented Basta assembly seat for five consecutive terms since 1990.
However, he was reinstated in the party as the vice-president in March, 2018 and made the observer of the party affairs in Dhenkanal district.
Mohanty’s resignation comes as a fresh setback for the for the ruling BJD a day after eight-time MP and former union minister Arjun Sethi quit the party and joined BJP on Saturday.
Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda had resigned from BJD last year while Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi, Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh and Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo resigned from the BJD later.