BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra expresses disappointment over denial of LoP post

Bhubaneswar: Sambalpur BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra today openly expressed his displeasure against party’s top leadership questioning its decision of denying him the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Odisha Assembly.

Mishra claimed that even though his other elected colleagues wanted him to see as the LoP, BJP’s central leadership chose Pradipta Naik as the Opposition leader.

Notably, BJP secured its first ever leading Opposition tag in the State Assembly after winning 23 MLA seats in the 2019 general elections. But the selection of the Leader of Opposition from the party became a hefty affair after the State leadership reportedly failed to take unanimous decision regarding the matter. As the onus fell on the shoulders of the Central leadership, a team of observers visited the State to take stock of the matter and reviewed legislators’ decision.

Later, even as Jayanarayan was front-runner for the post, party MLA Pradipta Naik was selected as the LoP by party’s national president Amit Shah.

Jayanarayan has sharply criticised the decision of the party for ignoring him for the LoP post and indirectly hinted towards party’s secret deal with BJD as the reason behind the move.

“After observers’ meeting I found that most of our MLAs had supported my name for the LoP post but I don’t know what happened to their suggestions,” Mishra said.

Asked whether he was used as a pawn in BJP-BJD understanding over election of Ashwini Vaishnaw to the Rajya Sabha, Jayanarayan claimed that it might have happened.

“People of Odisha want to know why the BJD despite having full majority in the House gave away its one Rajya Sabha seat,” he said.

On the other hand, LoP Pradipta Naik has refuted the claims made by Jayanarayan Mishra. “Leaders of the party also wanted to see me as the LoP as much as they wanted to see him adorn the post. But it depends on the party leadership who they chose to head the post,” Naik said.

On Mishra’s statements over BJP-BJD deal, its connection with Ashwini Vaishnaw’s Rajya Sabha election and LoP selection, Naik said, “I have not been selected as the LoP to support CM Naveen Patnaik, but rather to oppose him during times of wrong doings and If I am found not living up to expectations, the party will take appropriate action against me,” said Naik.

Meanwhile, despite low in strength, as the elected nine Congress legislators continue to dominate the House proceedings as Opposition leaders, the BJP has so far been rather a silent Opposition.