Bhubaneswar, March 2: Five-time MLA Arabinda Dhali on Saturday resigned from the ruling BJD, and said that he would join the opposition BJP. Dhali, the MLA of Jayadev in Khordha district, said he has sent his resignation letter to BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik via e-mail. He, however, did not mention any reason for his resignation. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Gives Nod To Set Up Special Battalion for Security of Shree Jagannath Temple

Dhali was first elected to the assembly from the Malkangiri seat in a by-election in 1992 on a BJP ticket. He retained the seat for two consecutive terms. He then joined the BJD, and was elected to the assembly from Jayadev in 2009. He also won the 2019 election from the seat. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Meets PM Narendra Modi, Asks for Site Clearance of Sri Jagannath Puri International Airport

He was the transport and corporation minister in Patnaik's government. Last month, expelled BJD MLAs Pradeep Panigrahy and Prashant Jagdev also joined the BJP. Former state minister Debasis Nayak of the BJD also switched sides recently. The assembly elections in the state are slated to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.