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Odisha BJP leaders in Delhi on boss hunt

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 16: A team of BJP leaders today rushed to New Delhi to pressurise the central leadership to elect the Odisha unit president.

The tenure of the incumbent Odisha president Juel Oram expired on December 23. His successor was supposed to be elected before end of his tenure. But, the new president is yet to be announced.

As many 46 party leaders, including party’s state returning officer Bijoylaxmi Mishra, left for New Delhi to meet the central leadership and urge them to conduct the election of the Odisha president at the earliest. They included office-bearers, executive committee members and district presidents.

“The election has been over due. We are going to meet the central leadership to apprise them of the ground situation and urge them to expedite the election keeping the 2014 general elections in view,” party general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan told reporters before leaving for New Delhi.

Bijoylaxmi said she would meet the central leaders and central returning officer and request them to fix a date for election. “I hope that they will fix a date for election before January 20,” she said.

However, Oram disapproved of the move. “They didn’t listen to my appeal. They should have sorted out the matter sitting here,” he said.

The BJP insiders said there had been a widespread resentment in the party rank and file for the delay in election of the president. “Today’s development was a revolt against the central leadership,” said a leader requesting anonymity.

In the last week of December, Odisha BJP in-charge and former Union minister Santosh Gangwar along with the party’s national general secretary Narendra Singh Tomar had visited Bhubaneswar and held consultations with the leaders for evolving a consensus. They had gone back, promising that a statement would “soon” be made from Delhi about the next president. However, it seems a consensus continues to elude the leadership over the issue.

Ten days ago, the Odisha leaders had gheraoed Oram, expressing their anger. However, Oram had advised them to wait for some days.

The front runners for the post include general secretaries Nayan Mohanty and Basant Panda. Names of BJP legislature party leader, K.V. Singhdeo, and vice-presidents Ashok Sahu and Sanchita Mohanty have also been doing the rounds. But, the central leadership wants to avoid a direct contest and chose an Odisha chief on consensus basis.