Prominent tribal leader and former MP Jayram Pangi today joined the BJP about one-and-half months after being suspended from the ruling BJD for “anti-party activities.” Pangi along with his supporters were welcomed into the BJP by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan at the BJP state headquarters. Former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang and former minister and senior BJP leader B B Harichandan and others were present.
“I have not set any terms and conditions before joining the BJP. My position will be decided by the party,” Pangi told reporters after joining the saffron party. Angry over his suspension from the BJD during the recently concluded panchayat elections, Pangi said “I was a disciplined worker in the BJD and have never indulged in anti-party activities. I wonder why I was suspended from the party.” “The BJD is doing exactly the opposite to what Biju Babu (Biju Patnaik) dreamt about Odisha,” he said.
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Pangi, a former MP and four time MLA and also a former minister, said “I am a tribal. Tribals are loyal to their leaders. if they say no means it’s a big no. I have said no to BJD.” Stating that he worked for 40 years, 20 years with Biju Patnaik and 20 years with Naveen Patnaik, Pangi said “I was suspended from the BJD within 40 seconds.” The incident has created a flutter in the ruling BJD with its senior MP Baijayant Panda tweeting, “One gone yesterday, another today. Yet when I cautioned last week, was contradicted. Now a large section unrepresented, resent everywhere.”
Panda said this referring to BJD leader Amar Nayak of Badachana area in Jajpur district joining the BJP yesterday and Pangi wearing the saffron cap today. The Kendrapara MP also referred to resentment in the BJD over non-represntation of ministers in many districts.
BJD spokesman P K Deb, however, wanted Panda to ask the BJP how they accepted Pangi whom they (BJP) were accusing of having a role behind killing of a lady teacher in Rayagada district. “The BJP was accusing the BJD of shielding Pangi in Itishree murder case, how do they accept him now,” asked Deb. BJD spokesman and former minister from Koraput district, Rabi Narayan Nanda claimed Pangi joining the BJP would not make any difference to the BJD. Several tribal leaders from Koraput had joined the BJD. Jayram Pangi was working for other parties while he was in BJD, Nanda alleged. Pangi’s joining will boost the BJP organisation in tribal dominated areas, especially Koraput, said Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs.