Bhubaneswar: Six-year-old Orissa Gana Parishad (OGP), a regional party in Orissa headed by former state minister Bijoy Mahapatra, Monday formally merged with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar in the presence of Union Minister of Civil Aviation Prafulla Patel former speaker of Lok Sabha P.A. Sangma.
Along with OGP, the Orissa unit of Janata Dal (S) headed by Ashok Das and a number of rebel leaders of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition as well as those of Samajwadi Party also joined the NCP, the general secretary and former speaker of Lok Sabha P.A. Sangma told media persons here.
Mohapatra was considered a trusted lieutenant of former chief minister Biju Patnaik and headed many important departments when Patnaik was state chief minister from 1990-1995.
Among the prominent leaders who joined NCP include former ministers in Naveen Patnaik's government, Amar Satpathy (BJD) and Prasanta Nanda (BJP) and Anadi Sahu, a former member of parliament of BJP.
Sangama declared the merger in the presence of Union Minister for Civil Aviation Prafulla Patel and NCP Spokesman D.P. Tripathy.
"People of Orissa want a change, they are fed up with last eight years of BJD-BJP rule and want a new alternative which the NCP would provide," he said.
Commenting on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress, he said that the Congress has failed to take a definite stand on many important issues while the BJP also failed to function as the main opposition.
"The left parties, though in the UPA Government, were really playing the role of opposition", he added.