In yet another major setback to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party in Odisha, former Union Minister Arjun Charan Sethi on Saturday resigned from the party after he and his son Abhimanyu Sethi were denied tickets to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik replaced Sethi, the eight-time MP, with Manjulata Mandal, the wife of sitting party MLA Muktikant Mandal, in Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency.
"Odisha: Arjun Charan Sethi resigned from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after his son Abhimanyu Sethi wasn't given a ticket from the party; has joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his son," the news agency ANI reported.
Odisha: Arjun Charan Sethi resigned from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after his son Abhimanyu Sethi wasn't given a ticket from the party; has joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his son pic.twitter.com/smH346amoB— ANI (@ANI) March 30, 2019
Seathi, the 78-year-old veteran MP has submitted his resignation letter to Patnaik and quit as Member of Parliament as well as from the post of Bhadrak district BJD president. The father-son duo has also joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in order to contest the next month's Lok Sabha Elections 2019 from the Bhadrak seat in Odisha. BJP is yet to announce the name of its candidate from Bhadrak (SC), Jagatsinghpur (SC), Jajpur (SC) and Mayurbhanj (ST) Lok Sabha seat.
Speaking to media, Sethi said, "I wanted to meet Naveen Patnaik but was not given an appointment. I waited for four hours but failed to meet him. At this old age, it was embarrassing that I had to wait for so long".
"I am pained that neither I nor my son was given ticket to contest in the ensuing polls," Sethi told reporters, adding that Patnaik had earlier assured him to consider his candidature or giving ticket to his son.
Sethi, who was Union Minister for Water Resources in the Atal Bihari Vajpeyee Ministry from 2000 to 2004, is the fourth BJD MP, to have resigned from the party.
Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi, Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh and Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo have already resigned from the BJD. While Panda, Majhi and Singh have joined the BJP, Patnaik is yet to accept the resignation of Deo. Bhadrak Youth BJD president Durga Prasanna Das, a supporter of Sethi, also resigned from the party.
At least five sitting MLAs have resigned from the BJD and joined BJP following denial of renomination. The BJD has expelled three leaders from the party for anti-party activities ahead of the polls in Odisha. The trio has been expelled from the party for their indulgence in anti-party activities.
(With inputs from agencies)