Bhubaneswar, Oct 21 : Former Odisha Minister and Congress leader Padmalochan Panda joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday.
The former MLA joined the BJP in the presence of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and state BJP president Basant Panda at a programme in Balasore district.
Panda, a three-time MLA from Simulia assembly segment in Balasore district, had resigned from the primary membership of Congress on October 7.
Welcoming Panda into the party, the Petroleum Minister said he has accepted the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah and his joining will further strengthen the party.
Panda was Minister of state for Fisheries and Animal Resources Development and Panchayati Raj departments from February 1999 to March 2000 during the Congress regime in the state.