Bhubaneswar: In a major setback for BJP ahead of the panchayat elections, senior BJP leader and former Deputy Speaker of Odisha Assembly Ramchandra Panda on Thursday joined the ruling BJD.
Panda joined the regional party at the Naveen Niwas, the residence of party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the presence of the latter.
Sources said Panda was not given due recognition in the saffron party.
The Chief Minister said with the joining of the tribals the support base of the party would increase to a great extent in Ganjam district.
The CM welcomed Panda and advised him to work for strengthening the party organisation at the grassroots level. Patnaik said the joining of Panda in BJD will help the party during the panchayat polls.