Cross-voting shadow in Odisha

Cross-voting shadow in Odisha

Three major political parties in Odisha—Biju Janata Dal(BJD),  Congress and BJP—are faced with a major challenge to prevent cross-voting during the forthcoming Presidential election.

The three parties have already come under the cross- voting shadow due to the recent political developments in the state, including power struggle within the BJD and internal squabble in the state units of the Opposition Congress and BJP.

In the ruling BJD, political observers as well as party insiders do not rule out the possibility of  some of the party legislators and MPs close to rebel leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, himself a Rajya Sabha member, voting in favour of the UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee, to teach party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, a lesson.

Patnaik had suspended Mohapatra from the regional outfit a few days back for the latter’s attempt to topple his government while he was on a foreign tour. Along with Mohapatra, the two other BJD legislators were also suspended from the party; three ministers known to be close to Mohapatra were also dropped from the state council of ministers. Officially, however, the Patnaik-led party has put up a brave front on the issue. “There is no chance of any cross-voting in the BJD. If there will be one, it will be in the Congress or the BJP,” said senior party leader and the vice-president of the ruling regional outfit Damodar Rout.

Mohapatra, too, in his recent statement had said that he and his supporters would toe the party line so far as the Presidential election is concerned. “We are still in the BJD. We have only been suspended from the party. Therefore, we’ll follow the party’s decision,” the Rajya Sabha MP told reporters here during an informal chat.

However, the rebel leader’s assurance has not been able to fully convince a section of the regional outfit who, according to sources, have already alerted the party leadership to keep a “close watch” on the party dissidents. If there will be a cross-voting in the BJD, then it will certainly be a major embarrassment for the regional outfit in general and Patnaik in particular, as it was he who was the first one to declare his support for the other presidential nominee and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma.

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