Election of state BJP chief on January 14

Bhubaneswar: Days after the state unit of BJP announced presidents for its 30 organizational districts, the saffron party on Tuesday declared that the election for the State BJP chief will be held on January 14.

Sources in the party said nomination for the most coveted post will be held the same day.

Members of BJP’s state council and working body will cast their vote whereas its National general secretary Saroj Pandey will supervise the entire proceedings.

Speaking on this, state-in-charge Arun Singh said, “He should be an old party worker and can work with all BJP leaders. And, most importantly he can take the party’s vision, mission and decision to people”.

While names of some senior leaders like Bijoy Mohapatra, Pratap Sarangi and sitting president KV Singh Deo are doing the rounds for the top post, it is learned from a highly placed source that the party might choose its legislature party leader and Nuapada MLA Basanta Panda over others.

The party, however, wants the election to end smoothly with the cooperation by all members.

Since the BJP continues to remain the third major player in the State politics, the top brass of BJP in New Delhi as well as the RSS are in the process of selecting a leader who could lead the party successfully in the panchayat elections in the State in 2017.

Earlier, there was talk of giving sitting president of the State unit and former Minister Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo another term.

Though Bijoy Mohapatra is considered as a strategist who could take on chief minister Naveen Patnaik, he is unlikely to be given the top post as he was in no way connected to the Sangh Parivar till he joined the BJP in 2009.

Besides, the new president needs to be acceptable to the top BJP and RSS leaders and also be in good terms with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is reportedly being groomed as the party’s future in Odisha.