ONI Bureau: It remains no secret that former BJD MP Baijayant Panda enjoys massive support within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) although he is yet to join the saffron outfit. It’s not even clear whether he would take the plunge or float a new party. But, the BJP leaders are still hopeful of his entry, saying it would give a big boost to their prospects in Odisha.
While talking to Odisha News Insight, many BJP leaders admitted in private that confidence level in the party has significantly gone up following the entry of former IAS Aparajita Sarangi and it would be strengthened further if Jay Panda joins them. They also agree that these two leaders should get important positions in the party so that they can take things forward along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is credited for BJP’s rise in Odisha post-2015.
“Baijayant Panda is a smart, intelligent and acceptable leader. After the imminent departure of Bijoy Mohapatra and Dilip Ray from the party, BJP needs someone who understands the pulse of BJD. It’s Jay Panda who still enjoys good rapport with many BJD leaders who are disgruntled within the party, but don’t know which way to go. They need someone who can be trusted. But, who is that person? Who else except Baijayant? Only he can fill up the vacuum created by Bijoy Mohapatra in our party when it comes to splitting the BJD,” said a BJP leader who does not want to be named.
On the issue of Chief Ministerial candidate for Odisha, another BJP leader says that debate is almost over. “We understand Dharmendra Pradhan would take the lead when it comes to Odisha because he has invested all his time and energy for the party’s growth in the state. Both Dharmendra and Baijayant enjoy good rapport and they know each other’s responsibility better than the speculative media. A person like Baijayant Panda is needed at the Centre to be part of PM Modi’s dream and vision. He would be an asset either as an External Affairs Minister or a Corporate Affairs Minister. His immense knowledge, eloquence and stature would be extremely helpful for the party as well as the nation,” he said.
On social media too, the BJP supporters can be seen urging Baijayant Panda to join the party without further delay. They are waiting for the D-day and their excitement has gone up after Aparajita Sarangi joined the party. Some of them have even pointed out that they have high expectations from him and he would get unequivocal support from the party workers and leaders once he takes a decision.
Many BJP leaders sound confident while claiming that Baijayant Panda would join the party towards the third or last week of December after the assembly polls in 5 States are over. It is also believed that RSS is very keen on him and has already given the green signal. However, Jay is yet to open his cards. He keeps everyone guessing.
Also Read: Soumya gone; BJP needs Baijayant in Odisha