New Delhi: Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda was appointed as the National vice-president and spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday. The former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader joined the saffron party on Monday, after a year of being suspended for alleged anti-party activities.

According to an official statement released by the BJP, the appointment has been approved by the party national president Amit Shah and comes with immediate effect.

Former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda on Monday had joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Baijayant Jay Panda had said in a tweet, “Nine months of introspection & widespread consultations w/colleagues and public. Grateful for support received from all over. On auspicious #MahaShivratri I’ve decided to join @BJP4India & work under the leadership of @narendramodi Ji to serve Odisha & India to the best of my ability.”

In May last year, Baijayant Jay Panda quit the BJD. In his resignation letter addressed to BJD chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Panda stated that he was disappointed with the kind of politics being practised by the party. “It’s with deep anguish, hurt and sorrow that I have decided to quit the politics into which our BJD has descended,” Panda had said.

Panda was suspended from the BJD for his “anti-party activities” in January 2018. The BJD had even asked Panda to resign from his Lok Sabha seat on moral and ethical grounds. He was also accused of submitting a false affidavit before the Election Commission during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.