According to media reports, former BJD MP, Jay Panda will be joining the BJP today. BJP sources in Bhubaneswar confirmed that Panda, who represented Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat till his resignation from Lok Sabha last year, would join the party in the presence of PM Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah in Delhi in the evening.
Jay Panda has been a party stalwart and associated with BJD ever since its formation in 1997. Baijayant Jay Panda, MP from Odisha’s Kendrapara had quit the party in May 2018 writing to Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik” It’s with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the politics into which our BJD has descended.” In January, he was suspended from the party due to his cold war with the Chief Minister.
Currently, Jay Panda is serving his fourth term in the Parliament. Speculation about Panda joining the BJP has been rife for months now. He not only has massive support on the ground in his constituency, but also controls a substantial section of the Odia media. Moreover he has a solid connect with the youth. He enjoys a mass following on social media and has also praised the Modi government policies in the past.
With the BJP in an upswing in the state, perhaps Panda is exactly what they need to break the BJD fortress in Odisha which has been ruling the state for the last 18 years. BJP President Amit Shah, after the Tripura’s landslide victory, had said that the ‘Golden Period’ for the BJP party would not arrive till it manages to win in West Bengal, Odisha and Kerala. This statement shows the importance of Odisha for the BJP, whose rising popularity in the state is giving the Naveen government sleepless nights. With the joining of Jay Panda, it will be an icing on the cake for the Modi government.
BJP has been on an upswing in Odisha for quite a while and Jay Panda’s coming to party fold will surely bolster its poll prospects in the state. With the Odisha legislative assembly elections due in 2019, it appears that the BJP is all set to dethrone Naveen Patnaik in the state. According to an online survey, titled “Trust of Odisha” conducted by Dailyhunt to know the pulse of the voters. Over 50,000 people participated in the survey, the results of which will send warning bells ringing for the sitting Odisha chief minister.
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