New Delhi, June 12: Former Odisha chief minister Giridhar Gamang met BJP national president Amit Shah at the latter's official residence here on Friday in a meeting that cleared the decks for the veteran Congress leader to join the BJP.
"After BJP leaders considered it fit that Giridhar Gamang is acceptable in the party, they welcomed me," Gamang told reporters after meeting Shah. [Former Odisha CM and Congress leader Giridhar Gamang quits party]
Gamang was accompanied by his son Sisir to the meeting where union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and incharge of party affairs in Odisha Arun Singh were also present.
Citing "humiliation" by the party since 1999, the nine-time MP from Koraput resigned from the primary membership of the Congress on May 30 after an association lasting more than four decades. [Not me, Saifuddin Soz responsible for Vajpayee govt's fall: Giridhar Gamang]
Reacting to his entry into the BJP, a state Congress leader in Bhubaneswar dubbed him an "opportunistic".
Interestingly, Gamang confided that talks between him and BJP leaders about his entry into the party were on for nearly six months, even though he had maintained after his resignation that he "would not join any other party".
"Till a formal and final decision is taken, it is not proper to go public with such things," said the former Odisha chief minister.
Gamang maintained he would accept any post given by his new party and work with the state party leaders in Odisha. He also hoped that the people of Odisha would support his decision.
Gamang's son Sisir said they would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coming days.
Petroleum Minister Pradhan said: "Giridhar-ji is an experienced leader and skilled organiser. While his presence will strengthen our party, the tribal leader's exit from the Congress gives a message that the party is sinking across the country."
Narasingh Mishra, Leader of Opposition in the Odisha legislative assembly and leader of the Congress Legislature Party said: "Giridhar Gamang is an opportunistic politician. He joined the BJP to serve his interests, ignoring the contribution of the Congress in his public life. This shows that the Congress never ignored him as claimed by him."