"I am delighted that very senior leaders of NCP including four MLAs came to Naveen Niwas and joined the ruling BJD," Patnaik told reporters after a marathon meeting with the leaders of the Sharad Pawar-led party. "The leaders are well known, very hard working and good people," he said, adding NCP's Odisha unit general secretary Manu Choudhury also joined the BJD.
The four MLAs include NCP legislature party leader Amar Prasad Satpathy from Badachana segment, Prashant Nanda (Begunia), Ramachandra Hansda (Saraskana) and Navin Nanda (Dhenkanal). Of them, Satpathy and Nanda are former ministers.
"We decided to join BJD at an emergency meeting held on Tuesday. This is like homecoming for all four of us," Satpathy told reporters in the presence of Patnaik and other senior leaders of the BJD. Satpathy said they would soon meet the speaker of the Odisha Legislative party and submit a resolution paper. "There was no precondition for joining the BJD," Satpathy said while replying to a question.
With four NCP MLAs joining the BJD, the strength of the BJD's legislature party now increased to 108 from 104, said the party's vice-president and senior legislator Damodar Rout.