Bhubaneswar: Ending months of speculations, former MP Baijayant Jay Panda today joined the BJP in presence of top leaders of the saffron party.
Despite playing an instrumental role for the development of BJD and being the face of the party on the national stage, the former MP was targeted by his own party members and a conspiracy was hatched against him.
It all began on May 12, 2017 when Panda was removed from the position of party spokesperson over an article written by him in a newspaper. Subsequently, on May 30, 2017 Panda was attacked with eggs during the inauguration of an MPLAD fund project in Mahanga, Cuttack.
While the egg-hurling incident drew flak from several quarters, nobody was arrested in the case. Amid all this, the role of CM Naveen Patnaik's private secretary VK Pandian had become the talk of the town. After all this, there were some sponsored-protests at Naveen Niwas (CM's residence) by a group of party members who demanded the parliamentarian's dismissal from the party. Later, Jay Panda was suspended from the primary membership of the party on charges of anti-party activities on January 24, 2018.
But that was not the end. Accusing Jay Panda of submitting a false affidavit, some BJD MLAs demanded his resignation in May 2018. A case was also registered at the SDJM court in Kendrapara.
On April 20, 2018, ex-president of BJD’s Kendrapara Minority Cell, Salim Khan exposed a major conspiracy within the party against Jay Panda.
A few days later, an agitation was launched at Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) plant in Therubali of Rayagada district. IMFA group is owned by Jay Panda's family. Officials had stated that ‘outsiders’ were instigating locals to join the agitation. The production at the plant was hit following the strike.
The ruling-BJD had come up with its own conspiracy theory and just on the basis of suspicion had accused Jay Panda and his wife, who is the Confederation of Indian Industry's(CII) eastern region chairperson, Jagi Mangat Panda of being involved in the business body's decision to pull out from the ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave held in November last year.
On May 28, 2018, Jay Panda had resigned from the party following a spate of conspiracies hatched against him including raids at Ortel offices in Berhampur and Bhubaneswar.
In a letter written to CM Naveen, Jay Panda wrote, “It is with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the kind of politics into which our BJD has descended.”
As if all this was not enough, Jay Panda had to face a police investigation for allegedly flying at a low height over the Chilika in October last year. The Puri district police had also seized IMFA's hangar at the Biju Patnaik airport, restricting his movement.
Later, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had found no violation of its rules and regulation and gave a clean chit to Jay Panda.