Basant Panda elected Odisha BJP president

Bhubaneswar: BJP Legislative party leader in the State Assembly Basant Panda was on Thursday elected as the State president of the party after he emerged as the sole candidate to file nomination.

Panda was elected unopposed among 21 members of BJP national council. Earlier, Panda filed his nomination papers with 10 proposers.

As scheduled, the process for filing of nominations began at 9.30 am and ended at 10.30 am. After the deadline for filing of nomination was over, BJP election officer Rajkishore Das formally announced the name of Panda as the party’s state president at a press briefing in the presence of party’s poll observer Saroj Pandey.

Soon after the announcement, Panda was felicitated by senior party leaders, including BJP central leader and Odisha in-charge Arun Singh, Saroj Pandey, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, former state president KV Singhdeo, Biswabhusan Harichandan, Suresh Pujari, Pratap Sarangi, Samir De, Manmohan Samal and former MP Rudra Narayan Pani.

Panda was elected twice to the State Assembly from Nuapada constituency as a BJP candidate in 2000 and 2014. His organistaional ability is expected to stand the party in good stead during his stewardship.

Firebrand leader and former Nilagiri MLA Pratap Sarangi had set the cat among the pigeons yesterday when he recalled that he had been promised the state unit president’s post by the BJP leadership two years ago, sparking off speculation about a possible contest today.

But with Panda being elected unopposed, all such speculation has been laid to rest.

Apart from Panda, 21 members of the party from 21 Lok Sabha constituencies were also elected unopposed as the members of the party’s National Council.

Reacting to his election as State BJP chief Basant Panda said, “Through 36,000 booth committees, we will reach out to every village. A total 900 mandals will monitor the work and subsequently district presidents will supervise the progress of the work. The pyramid will stand with everyone’s cooperation and in the coming days will break the pot filled with corruption and illegalities.”