Mahtab’s move from BJD to BJP may shift Odisha politics

Mahtab’s joining  BJP could provide a significant boost to the party’s prospects in Odisha. As a seasoned politician with a strong track record and grassroots connections, Mahtab’s inclusion may attract support from voters, particularly in key constituencies.

| Updated: 28 March, 2024 3:43 pm IST
Bhartruhari Mahtab

NEW DELHI: Veteran Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab’s decision to resign from the party and potentially join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sent shockwaves through Odisha’s political landscape. Mahtab cited feeling “suffocated” within the BJD and expressed frustration over the party’s alleged deviation from its founding principles of fighting corruption and staying clear of wealth accumulation.

Mahtab’s departure comes at a crucial time, with elections looming on the horizon. His move signifies a significant realignment of political forces in the state and raises questions about the future direction of Odisha’s politics. Mahtab’s joining  BJP could provide a significant boost to the party’s prospects in Odisha. As a seasoned politician with a strong track record and grassroots connections, Mahtab’s inclusion may attract support from voters, particularly in key constituencies. His appreciation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s policies in the past suggests a natural alignment with the party.

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The failure of alliance talks between the BJP and the BJD further underscores the changing dynamics of Odisha’s political landscape. Mahtab’s departure from the BJD, a party he has been associated with for decades, could weaken the BJD’s stronghold in the Cuttack constituency and create opportunities for the BJP to make inroads. The BJP and the BJD had an alliance for around 11 years from 1998 to 2009, jointly contesting three Lok Sabha and two Assembly elections.

Mahtab’s decision reflects broader shifts within the BJD and the BJP’s growing influence in the state. With elections on the horizon, all eyes will be on how Mahtab’s move reshapes Odisha’s political dynamics and influences voter sentiment. Bhartruhari Mahtab’s resignation from the BJD and potential induction into the BJP marks a significant development in Odisha’s political landscape. As the state gears up for elections, Mahtab’s move has the potential to reshape the political narrative and set the stage for a fiercely contested electoral battle.

However, Mahtab’s resignation from the BJD came amid controversy as the Special Court for MP/MLAs framed charges against him in connection with an alleged assault on a police officer during a program 13 years ago. He was accused of slapping the then Sub-Inspector Amitabh Mohapatra during an event at the Netaji Birthplace Museum in Cuttack on January 23, 2011.

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Bhartruhari Mahtab, a prominent figure in Indian politics, has had a distinguished career marked by his association with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party. Born on September 8, 1957, in Agarpada, Odisha, he is the son of the late Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab (Ist Chief Minister of Odisha). Mahtab’s political journey began in 1998 when he was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha from the Cuttack constituency, a seat he retained in subsequent elections in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019.

Apart from his political duties, Mahtab has contributed significantly to journalism as the editor of the Odia daily Prajatantra. His articulate debates in Parliament have earned him accolades such as the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2017 and the Sansad Ratna Award in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 for his exceptional performance in debates.

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