Pradeep Pattanayak

After the change in the government following the BJD’s drubbing and the BJP’s resounding victory, for the first time after a long gap, Odisha is going to have a strong Opposition in the House. 

While it is quite obvious that the BJD with 51 and the Congress with 14 MLAs won’t make it smooth sailing for the newly elected BJP government, discussions about who is going to be the Leader of Opposition and who is going to be the Congress’ Legislature Party Leader are underway.

Regarding the selection of their leader, some senior leaders had discussions in Naveen Niwas. According to close sources, the legislatures and senior leaders have suggested Naveen Patnaik to be the LoP. But the party supremo is learnt to take a call in this regard after the oath-taking ceremony of his MLAs. 

“For the sacrifices, Naveen Patnaik has made for the party, none other than him will be our Leader of Opposition,” said Ananta Narayan Jena, BJD MLA. 

Also Read: New Odisha CM to take oath at 4:45 pm on June 12; PM Modi to attend grand event

On the other hand, the political analysts believe that Naveen Patnaik may appoint someone as the LoP. They have a reason to believe so as he was not coming to the Odisha Legislative Assembly regularly even when he was the Chief Minister. 

“After a long gap, the Odisha Legislative Assembly is going to witness a strong Opposition party. We may term it as a good sign for a democratic set-up. If there is a floor coordination between the BJD and the Congress, it would be a tough time for the BJP. But the question arising is whether Naveen Babu would be that much active. In the House, the LoP’s role is more important than that of the Chief Minister. So, an active MLA should be made the LoP,” said Prasanna Mohanty, a political analyst. 

The Congress has improved its position this time with its number increasing from nine to 14. On the selection of their leader, a kind of alleged dispute among the newly elected leaders is intensifying. While Saptagiri Ulaka has suggested the name of Patangi MLA Rama Chandra Kadam, Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati is opposing him. Both Ulaka and Bahinipati are currently in Delhi lobbying for their respective leader. 

“If the party chooses me as the Legislature Party Leader, I won’t face any difficulties in discharging the responsibility,” observed Congress leader Kadam. 

At the same time, the BJP is confident to face the Opposition. “In the House, we will ask them what they have done with the central government’s yojanas for poor people. We will make people aware of the scams and corruptions they did in the last 24 years,” said Rabi Nayak, BJP MLA.

  • Reported by:
  • JAGDISH DAS , Surya Narayan Panda

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