Expelled BJD Leader & Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev joins BJP

Bhubaneswar: Chilika MLA and expelled BJD leader Prashant Jagdev on Thursday joined the BJP at party headquarters here in presence of party Odisha co-in-charge Lata Usendi, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi and former State unit president Samir Mohanty.

Aparajita welcomed Jagdev, who donned a saffron kurta, to the Lotus party. Jagdev is the second expelled BJD leader after Pradeep Panigrahy, a three-time MLA from Gopalpur, to join the BJP this month.

In January 2023, Jagdev had expressed hope that the Conch party would soon revoke his suspension, but it is yet to be done. He had then accused former legislator Raghunath Sahu, who was elected from Chilika in 2009, of having hatched a conspiracy against him. While Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan of BJP wrested the seat in 2014, BJD fielded Jagdev from the constituency in 2019. He was earlier the party MLA from Begunia.

BJD leader Pinaki Mishra had then told the media that if a suspension is not revoked within three months then it is treated as deemed expulsion. “Therefore, the party position is that the Chilika MLA stands expelled from the party,” he added.

Jagdev was suspended in September 2021 within hours of allegedly assaulting a Dalit leader of BJP near Chilika lake. He was later arrested in connection with the case and sent to jail. Known for being “short-tempered” and “volatile”, he was again arrested in March 2022 for allegedly ploughing his SUV into a crowd of mostly BJP supporters and police personnel, outside Banapur block office in Khurda district.

In July 2022, he was released from Banapur sub-jail in Khurda district after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the case on the condition that he would not visit his assembly constituency for a year. He can only visit with District Magistrate/Collector’s permission. The court has also ordered Jagdev to not conduct any meeting(s) with more than five people at a time.

A junior engineer and a woman tehsildar were also victims of his unruly public behaviour. In August 2020, a junior engineer had registered a complaint alleging that Jagdev had misbehaved with him. In 2016, too, he had landed himself in controversy for allegedly assaulting a woman tehsildar.

Earlier this month, Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy joined the BJP after reportedly getting assurance from party’s state leadership that he will be fielded from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat. He was expelled from the BJD in November, 2020 for his alleged ‘anti-people’ activities.

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