Baijayant 'Jay' Panda was one of the most recognizable faces of Odisha's ruling BJD, apart from its founder and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. It seemed incredible that he could ever quit the party after being its chief spokesperson for years. But his souring ties with Naveen Patnaik came to pass and finally, he quit last year. In this election, Mr Panda trailed behind Biju Janata Dal's Anubhav Mohanty.
In April, the four-time parliamentarian joined the BJP and was appointed national vice president and spokesperson.
Jay Panda, 55, contested from Kendrapara, his constituency since 2009, but as a BJP candidate for the first time.
Kendrapara has been a BJD bastion since 1998 with Mr Panda winning two subsequent terms since 2009.
Mr Panda's fight with Naveen Patnaik continues even after his exit.
Last month, Mr Patnaik, 72, accused his former aide of spreading rumours about his health because he was eyeing his post. It was a sign that the Chief Minister had made it personal.
Calling the accusations of his former mentor "ridiculous and very sad" Mr Panda said he hasn't been after a post in the 18 years he has been in parliament. "I never sought it, I still don't. I am in politics for a different set of reasons. I think I have built a track record... it is evident in my activity in parliament and outside, of championing certain causes. I have never hankered for office," he said.
Mr Patnaik has not visited Mr Panda's home after the death of his father Banshidhar Panda last year. "Disrespecting my father, a close colleague of Naveen Patnaik's late father Biju Patnaik, was the final straw," Mr Panda said before quitting.
The owner of a large conglomerate with interests in mining, power and real estate, Jay Panda had been a parliamentarian since 2000 and had been among the most prominent leaders from Odisha.
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