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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Odisha CM swearing-in tomorrow, but central BJP leaders yet to arrive on consensus

Rajnath Singh and Bhupender Yadav are to reach Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to meet the MLAs. Both will be present at the legislature party meeting to be held at 4.30pm on Tuesday. Odisha election in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar said: “Everything will be decided in the legislature party meeting.”

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 11.06.24, 07:14 AM
Suresh Pujari, KV Singh Deo

Suresh Pujari, KV Singh Deo Sourced by The Telegraph

An initiative to elect the first-ever BJP chief minister of Odisha has begun. The new chief minister will take oath at 5pm on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and central ministers are scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Rajnath Singh and Bhupender Yadav — appointed as central observers by the BJP to oversee the election of the legislature party leader — have initiated talks with the state leaders through various channels and are trying to reach a consensus on the issue. The elected legislature party leader will take oath as chief minister on Wednesday.

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But bearing Naveen’s stature in mind, the BJP finds it to be a tough job. Its main focus is to select a leader who does not have any pending corruption or criminal-related cases and one who enjoys a clean image in Odisha.

Singh and Yadav are to reach Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to meet the MLAs. Both the leaders will be present at the legislature party meeting to be held at 4.30pm on Tuesday. Odisha election in-charge Vijaypal Singh Tomar said: “Everything will be decided in the legislature party meeting.”

“We have no idea about who the chief minister will be. The central leaders will meet and discuss the issue at the legislature party meeting scheduled to be held on Tuesday,” Suresh Pujari, one of the top contenders for the post, told The Telegraph.

Another contender and former minister K.V. Singh Deo said: “The parliamentary board will take a call on the issue. Let’s wait.”

State BJP president Manmohan Samal, who is also in the race for the coveted post, told reporters: “It is a proud moment that a leader from the BJP will take oath as chief minister. Our parliamentary board will take the appropriate decision on the issue. The party assigned me a particular role, I performed it. Whatever they assign me, I will discharge it.” Under the leadership of Samal, the party fared well in both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. However, Samal himself lost in the Assembly election.

Sources said there is pressure on the party to elect a new chief minister from western Odisha as the BJP fared well in the polls from that area. The BJP has already appointed two MPs from western Odisha — Dharmendra Pradhan, who won the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat, and Jual Oram, who won the Sundergarh Lok Sabah seat — as ministers in the Modi government.

Suresh Pujari, the MLA who won the Brajaraj Nagar Assembly seat, remains the front-runner for the chief minister’s post. Pujari is currently in Delhi and is likely to come to Bhubaneswar along with the central observers, sources said. Besides Pujari, senior MLA Mohan Charan Majhi was also in the race.

“It’s premature to predict any name at this moment. The leadership can spring a surprise as it had done in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by announcing names that had not been anticipated by anyone,” said a top leader.

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