Mrunal Manmay Dash

In yet another boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the crucial assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Odisha, former Eastern Air Commander and Kargil war veteran Air Marshal Dilip Patnaik joined the party on Monday.

Patnaik joined the saffron party at its state headquarters in Bhubaneswar in the presence of senior Odisha BJP members including party president Manmohan Samal, Odisha election in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi.

“I have served this nation for 40 years by being a member of the Indian Air Force. BJP is the party that will provide more opportunities in the service of people. Multiple parties are there, but I see the BJP as a party with nationalistic fervour,” Patnaik told ANI

“I have seen five to six PMs and their governance but I have witnessed a lot of things change especially between 2014 to 2022 as our PM says 'Minimum Government Maximum Governance'. I am convinced that this is the only party that will keep our nation moving forward," he added.

Dilip Patnaik is a Vayu Sena Medal Awardee and he has served in the Indian Air Force for 38 years after retiring in 2022. Patnaik played a crucial role in the Kargil War between India and Pakistan in 1999.

Earlier on March 3, Arabinda Dhali, a five-time MLA, joined the BJP in the presence of Odisha election in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar and BJP state president Manmohan Samal at the BJP headquarters in Bhubaneswar, after resigning from the BJD's main membership.

Along with Arabinda Dhali, Former Malkangiri MLA Mukunda Sodi also joined the BJP in the presence of Manmohan Samal, the party's state president.

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Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, several leaders and MLAs from the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha have resigned and joined the BJP. Leaders such as MLA Pradeep Panigrahi, and current Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev have joined the BJP.