The high flying former MP Baijayant Panda, who has been kept waiting for six months while others like Aparajita Sarangi, former bureaucrat flew past him to the BJP, may finally get inducted to the saffron party.
There are speculations that he is likely to join the BJP between 11 and 15 December.
The resignation of two political heavyweights — Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra — has ironically turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Panda as it prompted the BJP to look for salvaging its pride and image in Odisha and somehow “compensate” for the loss, say sources in the BJP here.
Panda has, however, never publicly stated his keenness on joining the BJP. His public stand over the last five to six months, since resigning from the BJD, has been that he is in consultation with people. His one point agenda has been to castigate the BJD and work against his former party.
Panda had reportedly encouraged rebel BJD leader Damodar Rout and promised support to him. However, he did not join the party floated by Rout with the goal of “defeating the BJD”.
Reliable sources said Panda had reportedly persuaded both Ray and Mohapatra a couple of months ago not to resign from the BJP. Wait for some time, he had told them hoping he would join the BJP and take corrective measures making it conducive for both Mohapatra and Ray.
The sources said Ray and Mohapatra had their own “doubts” on Panda getting an easy entry into the BJP, let alone being in a position to effect changes.
Supporters of Mohapatra and Ray said Panda had hoped the BJP would be eager to rope him in given his “relationship” with Ram Madhav, Arun Jaitley and others. But that did not happen and six months passed without any progress.
What hurt Panda’s supporters was the kind of treatment given to bureaucrat Aparajita Sarangi. Acceptance of her resignation from service was expedited and within days she was at Amit Shah’s residence for a formal induction ceremony.
BJP circles here were not very enthused by Sarangi’s entry, either. Similarly, they feel Baijayant Panda is not a vote catcher or a popular state leader. “His only asset is his family run Odia television channel,” a BJP worker remarked wondering why the media was giving so much of importance to his joining the BJP.
But all that seems to have changed. The political compulsion is to indulging in damage control now. Since two heavyweights Mohapatra and Ray quit, the party had to get a leader of some profile, observed political leaders here.