On the 4th of March Baijayant Panda an ex-Memberof Parliament from the Kendrapara Constituency of Odisha joined the Bharatiya JanataParty(BJP) ahead of the state’s assembly polls and the general elections. On his official twitter handle Mr. Panda claimed that he admired Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah’s leadership and hence joined the party on an auspicious day of Mahashivratri. This is an incredible opportunity for BJP to make in-roads into Odisha.
Jay Panda as he is commonly known as, quit Odisha’s ruling party Biju Janata Dal last year after a bitter falling out and the party claimed that he indulged in anti-party activities.
Mr. Panda claimed that he had taken the step after careful introspection and consultations from colleagues for over nine months.
Jay Panda’s entry into BJP could be of high strategic importance to the party since the four-time parliamentarian has ownership of a large conglomerate with interests in power, mining and real estate. He stands tall and is one of the most important leaders of the state and this could possibly effect the results of the outcomes of the elections, but with a minor margin. However, this is too early to understand the party’s tangent in the state to completely analyse and comprehend the outcomes of elections.
The switch could have hurt the BJD significantlyespecially the time factor playing a key role. But the official record by the party goes on to state that the exit will not affect the party significantly and went on to claim that it is difficult for Jay Panda to win an election without the support of Naveen Patnaik and could as well be seen as a loss tohim.
Jay Panda’s conflict Biju Janata Dal dates back towhen Naveen Patnaik suspended him on “disciplinary grounds” after he openly challenged the leadership after a poor performance in the polls. Soon after, in an article, he claimed that the party was run by opportunists that widened the rift and brought forth a lot of disturbances. Soon the rift intensified as the party ordered a probe against him on the complaint of some local leaders regarding his behaviour.
In May of 2018 Jay Panda finally separated from the party bringing to rest the internal disturbances in the party. In his statementhe said “ It is with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the kind of politics into which our BJD has descended.”
After the recent developments in the political sphere of the state, the stage is set to witness rigorous campaigning and tough fights to lay stake to the Chief Ministerial chair and seats in both the Assembly and parliament. It is however very early to comment on the tangent the parties are going to take and assess their popularity amongst the citizens of the state.
Image Sources: The Quint