Bhubaneswar, June 18 (IANS) Former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang and his son Sishir Gamang on Thursday formally joined the BJP at the state party headquarters here in the presence of central ministers and Odisha leaders.
The veteran tribal leader was earlier associated with the Congress for nearly 43 years.
He shot to fame when his single vote led to the defeat of the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government during the confidence motion in parliament in 1999.
Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary Ramlal, union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, state BJP chief K.V. Singhdeo and in charge of the party’s state affairs Arun Singh welcomed the veteran tribal leader into the BJP fold.
Gamang and his son were offered BJP caps by Singhdeo and later the duo gave missed calls from their cell phones to become primary members of the saffron party.
“I formally joined the BJP today (Thursday). I don’t desire any post in the new party and will not request the national leadership for any portfolio in the cabinet. But I will certainly accept whatever (responsibility) the party will assign me,” Gamang told IANS.
The nine-time Congress MP from Koraput quit the party last month after accusing it of “humiliating” him. He met BJP national president Amit Shah in New Delhi on June 12.
Meanwhile, the party on Thursday held a meeting of all candidates in the 2014 general and legislative assembly elections to prepare a road map to strengthen the BJP base in the coastal state.
The state BJP decided to take forward its ‘Mahasampark Abhiyan’ (public contact programme) to the grass-roots level.
“The BJP will reach out to each and everyone who has registered for its membership in the state. Besides, we plan to launch agitation against the failures of the Navin Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal government in the state and to tell public about the achievements of the Narendra Modi government at the centre,” said state party spokesperson Sameer Mohanty.