Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Nabrangpur running MP Balbhadra Majhi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday in the presence of Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Jual Oram, BJP vice president Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, BJP Odisha in-charge Arun Singh, state chief Basant Panda and MLA KV Singhdeo.

On joining the saffron party, Majhi said, “It’s a great day for me. I was in a regional party earlier. Today, I am feeling great to become a part of the BJP, a national party. I will work for the party on whatever position they assign me,” said Majhi. The rebel leader also thanked chief minister Naveen Patnaik for giving him the opportunity to work for the people of Odisha.

“I was working hard in the area but I don’t know why BJD party didn’t consider me while holding a meeting for the election preparation. I’m a sitting MP, it was insulting for me to not been considered,” he added.

Pradhan welcomed Majhi in the party, saying his inclusion will strengthen the BJP. “Nabrangpur and Malkangiri district did not have a railway line. Balbhadra babu brought both the state and the Union government on one platform to spread the railway network in these two districts. It’s sad the BJD behaved so badly with such a great leader,” said Pradhan.

Majhi had resigned from BJD on Tuesday.

After Majhi joined the saffron party, Harish Chandra Panda, nephew of Odisha BJP President Basant Kumar Panda, joined BJD in presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Meanwhile, the BJD wrote to State Chief Electoral Officer on Saturday stating that BJP has been pressurising the Election Commission (EC) to stop the flow of KALIA assistance being provided to over 20 lakh farmers in Odisha. ‘The party should not be allowed to stop it,’ read BJD’s letter.

Proposed by the Government of Odisha, KALIA scheme brings under its umbrella 92 per cent of cultivators of the state and almost all needy landless cultivators, who can avail the benefits of this scheme through Direct Benefit Transfer Mode.