BJP leader Kharabela Swain to contest Balasore LS seat as independent

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Bhubaneswar, March 25 (IANS) A day after the BJP declared its list of 18 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections for Odisha, senior party leader Kharabela Swain turned rebel and announced that he will contest Balasore as an independent candidate.

The BJP on Sunday evening renominated its former minister and veteran leader, Pratap Chandra Sarangi for the Balasore constituency. Swain, who had been aspiring for the seat, made the announcement after he was denied the ticket.

Speaking at a press meet at Balasore on Monday, Swain alleged that his name was expunged from the list of candidates just a few hours before the formal announcement at the behest of some vested interest groups. Swain contested the last general elections in 2019 on a BJP ticket from Kandhamal constituency. However, he refused to stand from the same constituency this time. Swain asserted that he has the backing of RSS members.

“I have decided to contest from Balasore constituency as an independent candidate and will join the BJP if I win. I contested from Kandhamal in the last general election following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions. However, I had earlier informed the party leadership that I will not contest from Kandhamal again. I have urged the party to allow me to contest from Balasore this time,” Swain said.

“I will not resign from BJP but the party can expel me. Party was supposed to give me the ticket but they didn’t. I wasn’t given the ticket due to some vested interest groups and I will expose the names after elections,” asserts Swain.

Swain said that he will not say anything negative against the party during the election campaign.

Notably, Swain had won thrice from the Balasore parliamentary constituency on the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket in 1998, 1999, 2004.



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