Bargarh: Former BJD MLA Ashok Panigrahi on Monday formally joined the BJP, ahead of the upcoming bypoll to Bijepur assembly segment in Bargarh district.
Panigrahi was welcomed to the party by Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram, party’s state president Basanta Panda and senior party leaders, including Arun Singh, at a special function held at Barpali here. Around 30,000 BJP workers were also present on the occasion.
Panigrahi was elected to the Odisha assembly from Bijepur in 2004 on a BJD ticket. Subsequently, the Bijepur seat went to Congress. The by-election is necessitated following the death of sitting MLA Subal Sahu in August this year.
Panigrahi was suspended from the ruling party in 2014 after he contested the election as an independent candidate from Bijepur, leading to the defeat of BJD’s official candidate Prasanna Acharya.