Will he, won’t he
Cuttack: Political circles in the district here are abuzz with speculation that Salipur MLA Prakash Behera would soon leave Congress and join the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
The speculation is getting stronger with each passing day as Behera has not disclosed his future course of action despite repeated queries from media people.
Some of Behera’s recent activities have prompted political observers to conclude that the Congress MLA is getting closer to the BJD.
Behera had put up several hoardings in Salipur constituency and other parts of Cuttack district to greet people during the Durga puja. However, the hoardings did not have pictures of Congress party’s poll symbol and its leadership.
A couple of months ago, Behera had participated in the Ama Gaon Ama Bikash programme of the state government at Salipur. He had also praised BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a public meeting at Salipur.
Recently, some media persons sought Behera’s reaction to the speculation that he is going to join the BJD. The Salipur MLA, however, responded with a smile, but did not disclose anything.
BJD’s Cuttack district president and Health Minister Pratap Jena said their leader Naveen Patnaik has the authority to induct someone into the party fold. No one else can do or say anything on the issue, he added.
It is worth mentioning here that Behera had defeated BJD nominee Prashant Behera in the 2014 Assembly polls by a margin of 2,017 votes.
When contacted, Prashant claimed that BJD leadership has full faith in him and the regional party would give him the ticket to fight the 2019 Assembly polls from Salipur.
“BJD’s organisation is strong in Salipur. The party would win this seat comfortably in the 2019 polls,” he said.
However, Prashant refused to say anything on the speculation that Prakash Behera would join the BJD in near future. “If someone has any plan to join BJD than he can only clarify on the issue,” Prashant said.