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BJD boss again, Naveen acts tough

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 23: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik who was re-elected as the president of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today for the sixth term in a row, said there was “no room for dictatorship” in his party.

“Our party is a democratic one. There is no room for dictatorship in it,” Naveen said, while reacting to allegation levelled by “detractors” that the party was being run in a “dictatorial fashion”.

The BJD chief retained his old team along with party’s secretary-general Damodar Rout, who had reportedly fallen from his grace last year and was subsequently dropped from the cabinet.

Senior cabinet ministers Prafulla Chandra Ghadei and A.U. Singhdeo, party MPs Prasanna Acharya and Prasanna Patsani, and veteran leader Kalindi Behera, who had to resign from the ministry in the wake of the Ganjam hooch tragedy during 2006, were re-nominated as BJD vice-presidents.

Similarly, 10 party leaders including ministers, Surya Narayan Patro, Raghunath Mohanty and Debasis Nayak were retained as general-secretaries. Party legislator Jogendra Behera was chosen as the treasurer.

Only four secretaries were changed.

With the election of party president and other office bearers, the process for BJD’s organisational poll was completed today.

The organisational elections of the regional outfit was due since July.

The Election Commission had reportedly cautioned the party of de-recognition if it did not complete its poll. The party had sought time till end of December to complete the poll process.

After the election of party president, which was a formality, a meeting was held at the headquarters here today.

At the meeting Naveen expressed his gratitude to the party workers for electing him as the president once again and said he would strive to shoulder all responsibilities successfully.

The party chief called upon all the party men to work together and fulfil the dreams of legendary leader and his illustrious father Biju Patnaik.

“Our government’s focus is Orissa’s progress and prosperity. We have been working for the development of poor, rural masses and tribals since beginning and will continue in the endeavour,” Naveen added.

MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, who is considered as the principal advisor of the chief minister as well as the party, said the party would continue its fight against central apathy and poverty.

Secretary-general Damodar Rout said the party, which had achieved “a lot” in the past 10 years would strive to make Orissa the best state.

Finance minister and party vice-president Prafulla Ghadei, declared that BJD would organise a rally at Bhubaneswar on December 26 to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The rally is expected to be attended by more than 1-lakh party workers and supporters.

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