Jay Panda keeps everyone guessing, meets BJP leader in Cuttack

Cuttack: Amid ongoing speculation about his next political move after quitting the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda was seen meeting former minister and senior BJP leader Sameer Dey in his residence at Cuttack on Saturday.

Panda reportedly held unofficial discussion with Dey along with several other intellectuals. However, there has been no formal announcement from Panda or his office about the purpose of the meeting.

Though speculation is rife that the former Parliamentarian might join BJP, Panda has so far not revealed his cards.

Clearing the air on Panda’s visit to Cuttack, Dey today said that the former Kendrapara MP had visited his house to attend a social function.

“It was social function. There should be no controversy when a politician visit another politician’s place,” said Dey.

On speculations that Panda might join BJP, Dey stated that, ” He (Jay Panda) has not joined BJP yet. We will welcome him if he joins the party.”

On the other hand, BJD’s Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantaray said that if Panda contests elections from Cuttack, it will have no impact.

Commenting on the development, Cuttack Nagar Congress President Md. Moquim said Baijayant is an experienced politician. “It’s completely his personal decision to visit whoever he wishes to. Also it is up to him to decide which party he joins.”

“BJP’s position is negligible in Cuttack. During the last general election, the saffron party was at the third position. At present, the fight is between Congress and BJD. I don’t believe there would be any change in the scenario if he (Baijayant Panda) becomes a candidate in 2019 polls,” he stated.

Earlier, in interviews to several national media groups, Panda had told that he is thinking about his political future and considering options by consulting people of his constituency and friends while indicating about his plans to play a big role in next elections.

BJD Chief Whip Amar Satpathy too responded on Panda’s visit and said, “There is no further cause of action once someone resigns from party; former MP Baijayant Panda has distanced himself and I have nothing to say on it.”

The former MP had resigned from BJD on May 28. In a three-page resignation letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Panda had written that he was ‘hurt and unhappy’ over the fact that members of the ruling party did not attend the funeral of his father Dr Bansidhar Panda. He also cited many other reasons like the party (BJD), which he helped build from a nascent stage, deviating from the core principles on which it was built and how he ultimately became the target for being vocal about such deviances.

Panda on Saturday also called on former Rajya Sabha MP and senior BJD leader Baishnab Parida who is recuperating from chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

In a tweet, Panda wrote, “Called on former Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Parida of BJD, who has been recuperating from chemotherapy for many weeks. Known as a tireless champion of Odia language, many notable personalities have called on him. But sadly none from his party….”

“It was good to see former Parliamentarian Baijayant Panda visiting my place today. So far no BJD leaders have visited me. I don’t expect so that I get disappointed later,” said Parida.