Bhubaneswar, Jan 9: Speculation is rife over the joining of Arindam Sarkhel alias Bapi in Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Paradip assembly segment of Jagatsingpur before the upcoming election.
Recently, Congress leader Bapi's birthday was celebrated in both Paradip and Kujang. Starting from Congress workers, hundreds of supporters celebrated his birthday with a fun fair. Bapi also joined in the birthday party and encouraged everyone.
The presence of Jagatsinghpur BJD President and Zilla Parishad President Manoj Bhoi on the stage of Sarkhel's birthday has created a stir. A photo of both Bapi and Manoj has gone viral.
On this occasion, the birthday venue was decorated with green and white balloons, epitomising the colours of BJD's party symbol.. Though Bapi has not given any sign of joining BJD or any political party, it is speculated that he might be joining the ruling party before the assembly election.
For the last two years, Sarkhel has been staying away from the Congress politics and introducing himself as an independent leader in Paradip. Under the banner of 'Aam Paradip, Ama Pragati', he had fielded candidates in both panchayat and urban elections. He was somehow successful.
There is also a rumor that instead of Bapi, his wife Monideepa may contest the MLA election in Paradip constituency on the BJD ticket.
In 2019 election, Bapi had contested as a Congress candidate in the Paradip assembly constituency, came second and was lost to BJD nominee Sambit Routray.