Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the October 15 by-elections to Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat in Odisha, prominent Kui tribal leader Lambodar Kahnar Monday joined the BJP here at the party headquarters.
Kanhar's Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti (KSSS) has been spearheading campaign against exploitation of tribals by other caste people in communally sensitive Kandhamal district.
About 200 people earlier supporting Congress and BJD also joined the party along with Kanhar, BJP sources said.
Kanhar, who was earlier supporting Naveen Patnaik led BJD, is the secretary of the coordination committee of the Kui Samaj, a powerful tribal organisation in Kandhamal district that has a large support base in the district.
Kanhar, was earlier in October 2012, had been arrested for beating up the job aspirants from outside Kandhamal who had gathered at Phulbani to join as Sikshya Sahayaks.
The ruling BJD, however, said that Kanhar's joining the BJP would not affect its electoral prospect in the ensuing by-elections. "Kanhar was not a member of BJD. His joining the BJP will not affect us," said BJD spokesman Samir Das.