Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though preparations have been in full swing for the swearing-in ceremony following the BJP's resounding victory in the recently concluded General Elections in Odisha, there is still suspense over the next Chief Minister of the State.

So, speculations are rife regarding who is going to be the next Chief Minister of Odisha. While some experts are of the opinion that the saffron party may choose a young CM, others are speculating that the party may bank on an experienced candidate with administrative experience to counter the strong Opposition and run the government efficiently.

Speculation about next CM

Speculations are rife that Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal is leading the race to become the next CM of the State. During the period when negotiation was going on between BJP and BJD over a possible alliance before the elections, Samal was the one who strongly fought against it following which the saffron party scripted a resounding victory. He was also a former minister and he has vast administrative experience during his 40-year-long political career.

Moreover, the names of senior party leader and MP Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda are also being considered for the coveted post. Both the senior leaders are efficient and experienced. As per sources, veteran leaders like Jayanarayan Mishra, Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo and Suresh Pujari are also in the race.

If the government is formed as per the model in other BJP-governed states, Mohan Majhi's name could be considered for the Deputy Chief Minister's post.

"There are some good candidates among the elected MPs who could be good Chief Ministers. However, considering the shortage in required numbers in the Centre, they may not be considered for the CM Post. They may consider a candidate from the elected MLAs or from outside. The party is now mulling over the selection of a strong candidate who can run the party, the government and tackle a strong Opposition," said senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty.

Now, all eyes are on the BJP Parliamentary board meeting to be held in New Delhi on Friday. As per reports, the board will appoint a Central observer who will finalise the Chief Minister in a meeting attended by party MLAs.

Preparations in full swing

Meanwhile, preparations are in full swing at Janata Maidan in Bhubaneswar for the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chief Minister to be held on June 10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states are scheduled to take part in the swearing-in ceremony. Administrative authorities, police administration and SGP have reviewed the preparations.

"A senior leader of the party will be appointed as the observer and he will recommend a candidate's name as the next Chief Minister and it will be approved by the MLAs," said Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal.

"All the members of the BJP will obey the party's decision. Time will only decide who will be the next Chief Minister of Odisha," said BJP leader Rabi Narayan Nayak.

Special Secretaries tender resignation

Following BJD's poll debacle and the resignation of party president Naveen Patnaik, some retired officials who had been reinstated in different departments of the Odisha Government have resigned. 

Meanwhile, two advisors to the CMO - Suresh Mahapatra and R Balakrishnan resigned from their posts. While Mahapatra resigned from the post of Chief Advisor to CMO, Balakrishnan tendered his resignation from the post of Special Initiative Advisor to CMO. Special Secretary of the IT Department, Manoj Mishra also tendered his resignation.

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