Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik's surprise move of appointing Rajya Sabha member Bishnu Das as deputy chairman of State Planning Board has sparked fresh speculation over the replacement of Das in the Upper House.

Talks are doing round on several party aspirants who may fill up the vacant seat while Patnaik’s sister Gita Meheta is said to be a front runner in this regard.

Eight months after sending him to Rajya Sabha, Patnaik has again taken a U-turn by taking the Jagatsingpur strongman back to State. Political analysts predicted that Gita Meheta might be engaged in the political matter of BJD in Delhi. Sources said, Meheta was apprised about the BJD's performance in Panchayat election in State during her short visit to Odisha recently.

Besides the name of Meheta, BJD firebrand Pratap Deb, former MP Bhupinder Singh and Bimbadhar Kuanra are also said to be in the race. Some retired bureaucrats and eminent personalities are also said to be in Naveen's goodwill list.

Party spokesperson Surya Narayan Patro said that no decision in this regard has been taken yet. "Naveen Babu felt wise to put a dalit leader in State Planning Board. So, he chose Bishnu Das and took him back. But, the party has not decided its candidate to replace Das", Patro said.

It is said that a leader, who will be sent to the upper House, would remain in charge of political management of party like Pyari Mohapatra and Kalpataru Dash.
Bishnu Charan Das said he will quit as Rajya Sabha MP before assuming charge as Vice Chairman of State Planning Board.