Berhampur: Former union minister and Congress senior leader Chandrasekhar Sahu along with several Congress leaders formally joined the ruling BJD in presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, here in Ganjam district on Wednesday.

Besides Sahu, another AICC member Bikram Kumar Panda, district Congress president Bhagaban Gantayat and 11 Congress corporators of Berhampur Municipal Corporation and office bearers of various frontal organizations of the party’s district unit joined the BJD. They had recently resigned from the Congress.

“Chandrasekhar Sahu is a respected leader in the state. I welcome him and his followers who joined the BJD. I always welcome all those who believe in development of the state,” Patnaik said.

Sahu, who was the minister of state for rural development during the UPA Government from 2004 to 2009, said they joined the BJD for the development works being undertaken by the state government led by Naveen Patnaik.

“We decided to join in BJD as we also believe in development,” he said.

The BJD Ganjam district president and Gopalpur MLA Pradip Panigrahi said that the organization will be further strengthened after joining of several Congress leaders.