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Bhubaneswar: Former Odisha MLA Jogesh Singh formally joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday, three weeks after he resigned from the Congress. Singh, who represented Sundergarh Assembly seat, joined the BJD in the presence of Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik.

Welcoming the former legislator, Patnaik said Singh's joining will further strengthen the BJD in the tribal dominated Sundergarh.

Singh's entry into the ruling BJD coincided with the visit of Congress President Rahul Gandhi to Odisha to address rallies at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and Rourkela on Wednesday.

"I will work with dedication and commitment under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik for speedy development of Sundergarh and welfare of its people," Singh said.

Singh had sent his resignation to the AICC president Rahul Gandhi on January 18 on 'moral ground' after being suspended by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on charge of making alleged anti-party remarks.

The party had suspended Singh from Congress after he publicly praised BJD president and CM Naveen Patnaik on several occasions.

Subsequently, he resigned as member of Odisha Assembly on January 22.

Prior to his suspension, Singh, a two-time MLA had also announced that he would not join Rahul Gandhi's meeting in Bhubaneswar on January 25.

Singh's entry into the BJD comes close on the heels of former Congress MLA from Jharsuguda, Naba Kishore Das joining the ruling party last month. Das, who was OPCC working president, had earlier resigned from the grand old party.

Assembly elections in Odisha will be held along with the Lok Sabha elections.

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