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Sr Cong leader Ganeswar Behera quits, likely to join BJD

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Bhubaneswar: In a major setback to the Odisha Congress, senior party leader and former minister Ganeswar Behera resigned from the primary membership of the party on Tuesday.

Behera had represented the Pattamundai( SC) Assembly seat twice in the 1985 and 1995 Assembly elections in the state and held the position of minister of state for higher education, food supply, consumer affairs, public grievances, and pensions in the J B Pattnaik government.

In his resignation letter to president Sarat Pattanayak, the Congress leader, who was heading the media cell of the party, said he is resigning from the primary membership of the party.

A powerful leader from coastal Odisha, Behera, said the 2024 Assembly election is most important for his political career, as he is keen to enter the Assembly this time on the advice of his voters.

Behera’s decision to quit the Congress came in the wake of another former Congress MLA, Chiranjib Biswal, quitting the party and joining the BJD.

Sources said Behera is likely to join the BJD soon, and he would be fielded by the BJD to contest the 2024 Assembly elections, possibly from his home constituency or Kendrapara Assembly seat.

Last month, former Congress MLA from Rajnagar Anshuman Mohanty quit the Congress and joined the BJD. He was nominated by the BJD to contest the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat against the BJP’s heavyweight leader, Baijayant Panda.

Congress sitting MLA from Khariar Assembly seat Adhiraj Panigrahi had also quit the party last month and joined the BJD, which had fielded him to contest his assembly seat in the upcoming elections.

Two more Congress leaders, including former minister Surendra Singh Bhoi and former MLA K Surya Rao, had also resigned from the party and joined the BJD recently.

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