JAY Panda Joins BJP

ENDING  speculation about his political career after quitting Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal, former BJD Parliamentarian  Baijayant aka ‘Jay’ Panda, 55 , has  joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) boosting  the morale of the saffron activists  in the state where the party  is focused  on improving its tally in the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly  elections . Panda, who had studied in the Michigan Technological University and with a background in Engineering and Management, joined the corporate sector before joining politics. He assisted late Biju Patnaik and subsequently Naveen Patnaik, who founded the Biju Janata Dal. He joined the ruling party on March 4, 2019 in the presence of Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi. He later met BJP president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters in the capital. Addressing a presser, Panda, who was close to State Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, tore into his former party, saying the governance had deteriorated sharply in recent years. The party hopes that Panda will brighten its electoral prospects, especially in coastal Odisha. Panda, who owns an influential media empire in the state, was a leading parliamentarian and considered the prominent face of the ruling  Biju Janata Dal at national  level .The BJD suspended him last year for “anti-party” activities. He then resigned from the BJD and also the Lok Sabha, where he represented Kendrapara constituency twice. He has also represented the state in the Rajya Sabha. The BJD had accused him of “anti-party activities” to justify his suspension. It later alleged that he was involved in money laundering as it sought probe. Panda had denied the charge. 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.The BJP has identified Odisha as one of the priority states ahead of the polls. In the 2017 state rural elections, the BJP emerged as the second largest party, pushing the Congress to the third spot. At the press conference, Cuttack born Panda, whose father Bansidhar panda was a close friend of Biju Patnaik, said “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. 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 alleged that crimes against women and children and corruption in Odisha   were increasing .These were “disappointing sights” which needs changing and said BJP is the only party that can change this.


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