Jay Panda joins BJP, 9 months after walking out of Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal
Former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, who was first suspended and then quit the party last year after being marginalised in the organisation, has joined BJP on Monday.Updated: Mar 04, 2019 19:35 IST
Former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, who was first suspended and then quit the party last year after being marginalised in the organisation, has joined BJP on Monday.
Panda took to Twitter to announce his joining BJP, saying he had made the decision after nine months of introspection and widespread consultations with colleagues and the public. He would now work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Nine months of introspection & widespread consultations w/colleagues & public.— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) March 4, 2019
Grateful for support recd from all over.
On auspicious #MahaShivratri I've decided to join @BJP4India & work under the leadership of @narendramodi Ji to serve Odisha & India to the best of my ability🙏
He joined the ruling party in the presence of Union minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi. He later met BJP president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters in the capital.
At a press conference, Panda tore into his former party, saying the governance under Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had deteriorated sharply in recent years.
“I have admired Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and direction in which he is taking the country and also BJP president Amit Shah’s leadership that has made this party not just the largest in the country, but the largest and the most effective party in the whole world,” he said.
“In the early years, when it (BJD was an ally of the BJP, there were certain norms that had been followed which have been lost in the recent years,” he said.
Panda stressed on the crimes against women and children and corruption in Odisha and recalled “disappointing sights” which needs changing and said BJP is the only party that can change this.
Panda, who won from Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 on BJD ticket, was first suspended in January last year over charges of anti party activities. He subsequently resigned from the party as well as Lok Sabha in May and June last year following serious differences with chief minister.
The articulate and widely networked MP became the most visible face of BJD’s dissenters in mid 2017 after he called for ‘introspection’ in the wake of BJP’s sterling performance in 2017 panchayat elections. Since Modi became PM, Panda has been heaping praise on him while questioning Patnaik’s working style.
The BJP has identified Odisha as one of the priority states ahead of the polls. The assembly polls and the parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously, and the BJP hopes that Panda will brighten its prospects, especially in coastal Odisha.
Odisha has 21 parliamentary constituencies and the BJD had won 20 of them in 2014. The BJP had won only one seat — Sundargarh, represented by Union minister for tribal affairs Jual Oram.