Bhubaneswar: Former Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi, former Talsara MLA Ranjit Bhatria and several other leaders today joined the Congress party in Odisha.
Pangi, a tribal leader, was earlier associated with Bijua Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
Pangi had been elected to Odisha Assembly from Pottangi segment in Koraput for four times in the past. He was also elected to Lok Sabha from Koraput on a BJD ticket in 2009.
Pangi had left BJD and unsuccessfully fought the Lok Sabha elections from Koraput on a BJP ticket in 2019.
“My father was associated with Congress party. I am very much happy to join the grand old party. I will carry out the responsibilities given to me by the party leadership. I will fight for the cause of tribal people in Odisha,” said Pangi.
Bhatria was earlier a member of BJD. Apart from Pangi and Bhatria, several BJD and BJP leaders from Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Kendrapara, Nabarangpur, Koraput and Kandhamal districts joined Congress party.
Lokasuna Majhi from Kandhamal, former Additional SP Hemasagar Nanda, former Associate Professor Prafulla Parida, retired banker Bibhishan Naik and Siddhartha Das from Kendrapara joined the party.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Sarat Pattanayak and senior leaders of the party were present on the occasion.
“Pangi is a popular tribal leader in undivided Koraput district. He may help Congress dent BJD votes in the tribal belts of South Odisha and other parts of the state in the next year’s Assembly and General elections,” said a political observer.