One of the prominent Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders Baijayant Jay Panda on Monday quit the party following rifts with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, sources said.
In a three-page letter written to Patnaik, who is also the chief of BJD, Panda said, “It’s with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the politics into which our BJD has descended.”
"With the BJD and you yourself having made it abundantly clear that I am unwanted, it is only right to disassociate from it," the 55-year-old leader said.
Panda said he suffered “many humiliations over the past four years” and the chief minister's decision to not pay respects to his father Bansidhar Panda, who passed away on May 22, was “the last straw”.
Panda’s father shared a very close relationship with former chief minister Biju Patnaik, the father of current Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.
Panda, a parliamentarian from Odisha’s Kendrapara constituency, also said that he would formally convey his decision to the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Panda’s decision to quit the BJD came days after the party suspended his primary membership on accusations of “conflict of interest” and “anti-party activities” aimed at weakening BJD in Odisha.