BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today gave a green signal to the estranged leaders who either quit the party or were expelled in the past. “It will be taken up on a case-to-case basis,” Patnaik told reporters while replying a question on whether he would take back the leaders who had been kept away from the party due to some reason or the other. Patnaik’s signal raised hopes among many former BJD leaders, including former finance minister Prafulla Ghadai and Panchanan Kanungo, veteran leaders Bijay Mohapatra, Dilip Ray (both in BJP) and others. The ousted party leaders were never comfortable in other parties, party sources said. Former minister Raghunath Mohanty was also expelled from the party after his daughter-in-law had lodged a torture for dowry case against him.
Mohanty might now be allowed to return to the BJD since his daughter-in-law has reunited with her husband, insiders in the BJD said. “Though expelled from the party, I had never been away from the BJD. I had worked and wished for the growth of the party,” said Prafulla Ghadi. “If the old leaders return to the BJD, it will strengthen the party. This is not new in politics. Leaders do get expelled and return to their parent parties,” BJD vice-president and excise minister Damodar Rout said. Asked about Bijay Mohapatra and Dilip Ray, the excise minister said that they originally belonged to Janata Parivar.