KV Singhdeo replaces Basant Panda as BJP leader in Assembly

Bhubaneswar: The Central leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday appointed KV Singhdeo as the leader of BJP legislature party (BJPLP). Singhdeo replaced two-time MLA from Nuapada Basanta Panda, who had taken the charge in July 2014.

Soon after his appointment, Singhdeo said he will discharge his new responsibility with all sincerity.

“I had told the State and Central leadership that I don’t want to take the charge and it should be given to a young leader. Despite my reluctance, since they have reposed faith in me for the party’s benefits and given me the responsibility, I will try to meet their expectations. I, along with the MLAs, will highlight various issues in Odisha in the Assembly,” Singhdeo stated.

Political analysts feel, by passing the baton from Panda to Singhdeo ahead of the panchayat polls in January next year, the saffron party wants to increase its vote share, which had risen significantly in the 2014 general elections during the latter’s tenure.

In the last election, the party had won one Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats and its vote share increased by about 50 per cent compared to previous polls.

The rise in BJP’s vote share sounded a warning bell for the ruling BJD in Odisha as the difference between the votes bagged by the two parties was not very huge at many places, analysts said.

The BJP wants to cash in on recent issues like the Kandhamal killings, Nagada malnutrition deaths and Brahmaparivartan fiasco during the Nabakalebar last year, which have pushed the ruling party to the back foot, they noted.