Union Minister Jual Oram today claimed the ruling BJD in Odisha is facing a situation, which the Janata Dal had encountered in the mid-90s.
Claiming that a number of BJD leaders are in touch with the BJP leadership to join the saffron party, the Union Tribal Affairs Minister said "Some BJD leaders have already joined BJP and some others are in the queue. You have seen BJD leaders changing their loyalty towards BJP."
Oram said this while referring to the recent switching sides of former MP and tribal leader of Koraput Jayram Pangi and Jajpur's youth leader Amar Nayak from BJD to BJP.
Asked to name the BJD leaders in touch with BJP, Oram declined to reply and said "I had earlier said BJD people will join BJP. That has happened. The rest will also join the BJP."
The Janata Parivar disintegrated in the mid-90s and leaders joined different parties, he said adding, BJD was created after the Janata Dal split and a similar situation has come back.
BJD leaders are now getting prepared to join BJP as resentment is brewing among the rank and file of the ruling party, Oram claimed.
BJD spokesman Amar Prasad Satpathy, however, rejected the statement of Oram and said "The Union Minister should concentrate in his own party instead of poking nose in other's affairs. The BJD is united and will remain so."
BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already rejected BJP's claims, saying one or two leaders who joined BJP were suspended from the party.
Their joining BJP or any other platform will have no impact on the BJD, he has said.
State BJP president Basant Panda said party president Amit Shah is scheduled to undertake a booth level tour to three districts on June 22 to 24.
"The BJP president will visit Ganjam, Jajpur and Khurda districts and have direct interaction with booth level leaders," he said.
Sources in the BJP said the party has targeted Ganjam, Jajpur and Khurda districts as the ruling BJD is strong there.
While Ganjam is the home turf of Naveen Patnaik, BJD has won all seven Assembly segments and one Lok Sabha seat in Jajpur district in the general elections of 2014.