Odisha leader Baijayant Jay Panda, who joined the BJP last week, was Friday appointed the party's vice president and spokesperson.
BJP president Amit Shah's decision to give him an important organisational responsibility signals the importance the party has given him as it looks to improve its tally in the eastern state during the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Panda, who owns an Odisha-based media group, had quit the Biju Janata Dal last year and also resigned from his Lok Sabha membership following his suspension from the regional party headed by state's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
After months of speculations of the former BJD leader Baijayant Panda joining the BJP, the former Lok Sabha MP has finally joined the party.
Baijayant Jay Panda joined the BJP in presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in Delhi on March 4.
Soon after his admission to the party, he tweeted his first post as the BJP leader. Here is what it says:
"Nine months of introspection & widespread consultations w/colleagues & public. Grateful for support received from all over. On auspicious #MahaShivratri I've decided to join @BJP4India & work under the leadership of @narendramodi Ji to serve Odisha & India to the best of my ability."
In an interview to Republic TV Editor-In-Chief Arnab Goswami in June 2018 after he quit BJD, he had spoken about supporting BJP and PM Narendra Modi's leadership. Despite being in the opposition, Panda has been a vocal supporter of the BJP and the policies of the Centre under PM Modi's leadership.
"I did support PM Narendra Modi in demonetisation, so did BJD and party chief Biju Patnaik... I have been a supporter of GST for 18 years since I have been in the Parliament, I have been supporter of doing away with the VIP culture for well over a decade for at least a dozen years, I am glad it happened I would have been glad even if it had happned under any other PM," he said.
Assembly polls in the state will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP had won only one of its 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 but is hopeful of putting up a much better show there after it emerged as the main challenger to the BJD in the local polls.