Former MP Of BJD, Baijayant Jay Panda joins BJP

Former MP Of BJD, Baijayant Jay Panda joins BJP

Former MP Of BJD, Baijayant Jay Panda joins BJP 

New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant Jay Panda on Monday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here in the presence of Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Juel Oram and other senior party leaders.

"I welcome my friend Baijayant Jay Panda into the BJP family. His popularity and connect with the Odia youth will further strengthen the surge of the BJP in Odisha," Pradhan said after Panda officially joined the saffron party.

Panda, who later met BJP President Amit Shah at the party headquarters, said he joined the party after nine months of introspection and widespread consultations with colleagues and public.

"I have decided to join BJP and work under the leadership of Narendra Modi to serve Odisha and India to the best of my ability," he said.

Panda hit out at the BJD government in Odisha saying the governance under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has deteriorated sharply in the state.

Panda, a four-time member of Parliament, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kendrapara constituency of Odisha in 2014. He was suspended from the BJD for "anti-party activities" on January 24, 2018.

Having been at loggerheads with Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik for months, Panda finally quit the party on May 28 last year, two weeks after he tendered his resignation as the Lok Sabha member.

He was also elected to the Lok Sabha in May 2009 from Kendrapara parliamentary constituency. Earlier, he twice represented his state in the Rajya Sabha between 2000 and 2006.

One of the founding members of the BJD, Panda worked in the corporate sector before joining politics.

In 2014, out of the 21 seats in Odisha, the BJP was on second position in 10 seats and won one, while the ruling BJD won 20 seats.

The BJP has been making an extra effort in Odisha where it wants to make a direct contest with the BJD by cornering the Congress.

(Inputs from news agency IANS)