Vikash Sharma

Putting an end to all speculations, former Minister and MLA from Gopalpur Assembly constituency, Pradeep Panigrahi on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a special function held in Bhubaneswar.

Panigrahi joined the saffron party in the presence of Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal and other senior leaders at the state party headquarters in Bhubaneswar. Earlier, Panigrahi had met Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal on February 15 sparking speculations that he might join the saffron camp.

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“Today, we welcomed Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi into the party fold. He was a former minister and been a victim of various political reasons. BJP will be stronger in Ganjam and other parts of the state,” said Samal.

After joining BJP, the Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi said, “With permission from central BJP leadership, I have joined the party. There has been considerable development in the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is also time for change in Odisha as well.”

Panigrahi called for the formation of a strong Bharat as well as Odisha. “Time has come to rise above regionalism to nationalism. PM’s vision of a strong economy, peace indicator and works done by him have infused faith among people and time is ripe for a change in Odisha to throw corrupt government in the state here to save democracy,” Panigrahi said adding that the BJP is working towards Odisha first and Odia first principle.

According to Panigrahi, CM Naveen Patnaik had started his career with the support of Atal Ji and later snapped ties with the BJP.

“I urge the people of Odisha to give support and chance to BJP to serve as PM Modi has been working hard towards the development of the state. He (Modi) has sanctioned a lot of funds for all round development of the state. The BJD is trying to hijack central schemes and funds. People have started to know these tactics of BJD,” Panigrahi added.

The Gopalpur MLA also targeted the Odisha government for stopping the students’ union election in the state.

Panigrahi, once considered the blue-eyed boy of CM Naveen Patnaik, was expelled from the BJD in November 2020 for alleged anti-people activities. Since his expulsion, Panigrahi has been vocal against the BJD and its top leadership at regular intervals.

Recently, Panigrahi stated that there will be a huge change across Odisha. Green wave will be converted to orange wave in the State in the near future, he had said.

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