The wife of a Maoist leader in Odisha has joined a party floated recently by expelled Congress leader Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, the son-in-law of former Odisha chief minister and Assam governor JB Patnaik.
On Wednesday, Subhashree Panda joined the Ama Odisha Party (AOP) along with around 150 women supporters.
Her husband Sabyasachi Panda was expelled from the CPI (Maoist) in August 2012. He then floated the Odisha Maoist Party.
Subhashree said she would like to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Ranapur assembly constituency in Nayagarh district, adjoining state capital Bhubaneswar.
"I joined the AOP because its ideology is in sync with my own," she told reporters here after officially joining the AOP in the presence of party president Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.
Welcoming Subhashree to the party, Patnaik said, "We will soon take a decision on how we use her services in the elections."
Subhashree was arrested and jailed for two years for her alleged links with the CPI (Maoist), but was acquitted of the charges in 2012. A year after coming out of jail, she formed a Ranapur-based organization called Janamancha Odisha to take up social issues of the area.
Panda's father-in-law Ramesh Panda was a three-time CPI (Marxist) legislator from Ranapur.
Meanwhile, the AOP has tied up with another small party called Utkala Bharata, headed by former Balasore MP Aira Kharavela Swain, to fight the polls in all 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly constituencies of Odisha.