Baijayant Jai Panda has announced on Twitter that he has decided to join the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2019 General elections.
Nine months of introspection & widespread consultations w/colleagues & public.
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?
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) March 4, 2019
Speculations have been rife about his political future ever since he was suspended from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in January last year. Prior to that, he was suspended as the spokesperson of the party.
In May, 2018, Panda had submitted his resignation from the party expressing deep anguish that no leader from BJP had come to pay their respect to his deceased father. Panda also claimed that the BJD has been deviating from its original philosophy of humility and transparency to corruption and goondaism, which he claims was brought to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s attention multiple times.
He had expressed his disappointment at being attacked with stones, eggs and footwear by supporters of his then party colleague Health Minister Pratap Jena, even after which Patnaik didn’t inquire about his health and safety.
Panda’s decision to join the BJP is likely to boost the party’s electoral prospects in Odisha, a state where the BJP is looking to gain some seats in the Lok Sabha to compensate for potential losses elsewhere.