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BJD expels 14 rebel leaders

April 13, 2004 15:12 IST

The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Orissa expelled 14 leaders including former Union minister Bhajaman Behera and three members of the dissolved assembly on Tuesday from the primary membership of the party for indulging in 'anti-party activities'.

The rebels face a three-year expulsion, which will come into immediate effect, BJD general secretary Narendra Kumar Swain said in Bhubaneswar.

The three assembly members who were expelled were Debraj Mohanty, Bijaylaxmi Patnaik and Nabin Nanda.

The other expelled leaders include Sachidananda Dalal, Kamalkanta Pande, Laxmidhar Tripathy, Akhaya Dhal, Jalil Khan, Dipu Barik, Rajendra Das, Vijay Nayek, Yanjib Papkara and Ramaballav Rath, the party's Bhubaneswar district president.

Behera, a former Union minister in the V P Singh government, was contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from Dhenkanal seat as a Samjwadi Party candidate without informing the BJD leadership.

Turning to the criminal antecedents of the BJD candidates, Swain said that nomination was given on the basis of the candidates' winnability and merit and not to any convicted person.

When asked about BJD leaders having pending criminal cases against them, Swain said that they were not of any serious crime. Cases might have registered against them for participating in a bandh in the past, he said.

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