Decision on political future in final stage: Jay Panda

Bhubaneswar: It’s been over seven months that former Parliamentarian Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda quit BJD, but so far, he has kept everyone guessing on his political future, on whether he is willing to join any other party or thinking of floating a new one.

Amid the presumptions and with elections round the corner, Panda while speaking to media stated that his decision is in the final stage and he would soon make an announcement on his plans.

Panda said a few critics had predicted that his motive was to immediately join another party following his resignation from the BJD, which even after seven months hasn’t happened. “It’s now clear that the decision to disassociate with the party and resign from the post was in the interest of my self-respect,” he stated.

“Rather I have spent the last seven months extensively travelling around Odisha meeting people and seeking their opinions. I am not in politics with any particular position in mind, in fact, I have spent two decades not holding any government position but rather helping build a movement and political organisation. Indeed since elections are nearing, the people of Odisha have a right to know about my plans and I am in the final stages of deciding on them,” Panda told PTI.

Asked about which side he would prefer, the senior leader said that he is willing to join hands with anybody ‘committed to tackling the severe problems that Odisha now faces’. “I am willing to join hands with anybody who is committed to not just speaking about the sharp rise of crime and corruption in Odisha but willing to act on it.”

In a recent interview with the Deccan Herald, Jay Panda said, “I think the 2019 election has now again become a contest. A year ago, it was considered a no contest and expected that the NDA would be getting a second term. But given the developments in the last year, particularly last few months and State Election results, it shows that the ground realities may have changed. The Congress has become much more energetic, the regional parties are getting active and trying to come together. So, it is definitely a contest. It is no longer to be taken for granted.”

“However, at the same time, nobody should write off the NDA and the BJP and Prime Minister Modi, because he is perhaps the most gifted communicator in a generation, at least since Vajpayee Ji. So with 4-5 months left for the Elections, it is wide open contest and depends on who takes more of the initiative between now and then. That will be the decider,” he explained.

On Monday, Baijayant Panda’s first book, ‘Lutyens’ Maverick’ was launched at a special function held at New Delhi in presence of several eminent personalities and political leaders cutting across political lines.