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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Following the demise of IAS officer Priyabrat Pattnaik, the position of the president of the most prestigious club in the State, the Bhubaneswar Club, is going to be filled up again after remaining vacant for almost a year.

A meeting of the election committee of the Club was held on Wednesday to prepare the modalities and fix the date of the election, which is overdue.

The election to the position was postponed in April 2021 following an upsurge in COVID cases in the State. However, all the procedures including the filing of nominations and scrutiny of the applications were completed before May 2021. This will enable the managing body of the club to conduct the election on short notice, as per convenience.

This time around, it has boiled down to only two contenders for the position of the President; two retired bureaucrats and former Chief Secretaries of Odisha, Bijay Kumar Patnaik and Asit Kumar Tripathy.

Both the nominees have served the State of Odisha in top official positions. Incidentally, Asit Kumar Tripathy has been posted as the Chairman of the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) after his retirement and he has also been entrusted the responsibility of advisor to the Chief Minister of Odisha.

Suresh Chandra Acharya, a member of the club said, “After the passing away of Priyabrat Patnaik there was a void in this prestigious club. All the contenders are good. We will welcome anybody who devotes time for the betterment of the club.”

Kulamani Biswal, another member of the club hoped that whosoever filled the position left behind by the late Priyabrat Patnaik, conducts himself well and takes the club to new heights." I think the sooner the election is completed is better.”

Meanwhile, the race for the position of Honorary Secretary of the club has intensified as well. The shortlisted candidates for the position include, Ashok Chinchela, Vishal Kumar Dev, Dewa Shankar Tripathy, Partha Sarathi Panigrahi, Jyoshnamayee Parida and Damodar Padhani.

As per reports, out of these six, IAS Vishal Dev, former Secretary of the Club Ashok Chinchela and Srimandir servitor Damodar Padhani have emerged as the main contenders for the position.

Similarly, a total of five persons have been nominated for the position of Vice-President. They include, Jayanta Kumar Hota, Tapesh Roy, Dewa Shankar Tripathy, Mahendra Kumar Gupta and Aroon Birla.

Apart from this, a total of 22 members have filed nominations for the position of 20 Executive Committee members.

IAS Priyabrata Patnaik was the last man to don the president’s cap of the oldest and most esteemed club in Odisha. He managed to hold the position for more than two decades.

Established in 1950, the first president of the Bhubaneswar Club was King Bahadur of Khallikote kingdom. However, the chair has been continuously adorned by IAS officers since 1965. The club boasts some of the major personalities in the political and power corridors of the State as its members include some powerful businessmen and lawmakers.

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