Consensus eludes election of BJD chiefs in 3 dists

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Bhubaneswar: Intra-party rift in ruling BJD has come to the fore following a demand raised by Kantabanjhi MLA Ayub Khan on Saturday for a change of guard in Balangir district president during the party organizational polls. At present, party MP Kalikesh Singhdeo is holding the Balangir district president’s post.

Khan told media persons, “Kalikesh has been unable to organise the party properly at the district level. Besides, we do not support his activities. As the district president, he has never convened an executive committee meeting. A change is certainly due and we request the Chief Minister to effect one.”

Though Kalikesh declined to say anything on camera, he said he would accept the party president’s decision.

Similarly, a decision on naming the party’s Sambalpur organizational district president has not been taken yet. Sources said a decision could not be reached due to cold war between incumbent district president Rohit Pujari and Sambalpur MLA Rasheswari Panigrahi.

Panigrahi said, “Definitely the Chief Minister must have thought or is thinking about it. Once the organizational poll process gets over, the party president will nominate someone, who will be our district president.”

Commenting on the issue, Pujari, who is also Redhakhol MLA, said, “There are many aspirants for the Sambalpur district president. As I was the party’s deputy chief whip and am holding MLA post at present, expecting more will be foolishness on my part. Naveen Patnaik is our leader and whatever responsibility he will entrust to someone, he/she will abide to that.”

Above all, in Ganjam organizational district where the Chief Minister’s constituency falls, consensus could not be reached on present president Subash Maharana.

In his reaction, Pratap Deb, BJD returning officer, said, “If anything has been missed out during the five-phase organizational poll, the party president will take note of that.”

Notably, at the State Council meeting tomorrow at the party headquarters in Bhubaneswar, the names of the State Executive members and President will be declared. The election of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as BJD president for seventh time is now a mere formality as he is the lone candidate who has filed nomination for the post.

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