In a jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party party, two senior leaders in Odisha quit the party on Friday.

The two national executive members Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra resigned from the party saying they would “no longer continue in the party as showpieces.”

Former Union minister Ray and national executive member Mahapatra sent a joint resignation letter to party president Amit Shah.

“The well-meaning suggestions by us to you were construed as a threat by certain egocentric self-servicing individuals who resorted to dirty tricks and a campaign was launched in our respective constituencies to try and deride us,” they said in the letter.

They said that several leaders in the party kept silence over various issues concerning the state fearing denial of tickets.

According to reports, Ray, who represents Rourkela in the Assembly, also resigned from the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

“As self-respecting politicians with decades of service to Odisha, we refuse to continue in the party as showpieces. We can’t be treated as furniture in the party while the rootless talk big and project a larger than life image.

“For us, the interest of the state is supreme. We have never ever compromised our self-respect or the interest of the state for any post, power or ticket,” they said, adding that such silence was a bad sign for any democracy.

The delay in the construction of a second bridge over the Brahmani river and the establishment of a super-speciality hospital in Rourkela as well as the lack of job opportunities for local youth at Paradip oil refinery are the reasons cited by the party leaders for quitting.

“It is with deep anguish that I have decided to quit as the Member of State Legislative Assembly as well as from the Membership of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” tweeted Mr Ray.

Assembly elections are due in the state in 2019.

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