In a shot in the arm for the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, chairperson, vice-chairperson and six Congress councillors of Barpali urban local body in Bargarh district today joined the BJD. BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik welcomed the Congress leaders, including Barpali Notified Area Council (NAC) chairperson Meena Seth and vice chairperson Pradyumna Tripathy, while inducting them into the ruling party at his residence here. The six councillors who joined the BJD were - Achyutananda Panda, Suchhi Behera, Aswini Parida, Gayatri Rout, Basanti Bhoi and Babita Rana. Voicing happiness over the development, Patnaik said "I welcome them into our party.
Their joining will further strengthen the Biju Janata Dal." Induction of the Congress leaders from Barpali into BJD came around a fortnight after late Congress MLA Subal Sahu's wife, Rita Sahu, and her family members including son Sumit joined the ruling party on September 23. The Chief Minister also named Rita Sahu as the official candidate of BJD for by-election for Bijepur assembly constituency in Bargarh district. The Bijepur seat fell vacant after the demise of three-time Congress MLA Subal Sahu. The date for the by-poll was, however, yet to be announced. Seth said it was late Subal Sahu who had brought her into politics and after his wife Rita Sahu joined the BJD, she also decided to follow her path.
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