Speculation on new State BJP president gains momentum

Bhubaneswar: With the BJP central committee deciding in principle to elect the new president for the Odisha unit tentatively by the first week of January next year, speculations are rife on the prospective candidates for the top post.

Among the aspirants, the name of the leader of the BJP Legislature Party Basant Panda is under active consideration. Known as an able organiser of the party, Panda was among the top contenders for the post in the previous election of the state present.

Besides, firebrand leader and BJP state vice president Pratap Sarangi and BJP National General Secretary and chief spokesperson of the state BJP Suresh Pujari are also in the race.

Apart from this, party’s state general secretary Nayan Mohanty and senior leader Bijay Mahapatra are also tipped for the top slot for their leadership potential.

While the tenure of the BJP state president is three years, it is likely that the Central leadership might give another opportunity to the present president KV Singhdeo.

Talking to the mediapersons here on Sunday, senior BJP leader and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the party will take a decision on the selection of the party president.

“The party will select the candidate on the basis of his capability to organise and lead the party”, he added.

Asked whether he is being considered as the next party president, Suresh Pujari said there are a number of capable leaders in the state BJP for this post.

He, however, made it clear that there is neither any competition among these leaders nor there is any contender for this post.

Contacted, Pratap Sarangi said he does not know about the process of selection of the party president. “The Central party leadership will take a decision in consultation with the party workers and leaders”, he added.

To a question on whether the RSS has anything to say on the election of the state president, Sarangi said he feels that RSS has no interference in the internal affairs of the BJP.

To a question on whether he would accept the decision of the party to become the president, Nayan Mohanty said he will have no objection whatever responsibility the party central leadership bestows on him.

“I have been in the party since last 35 years. Whatever responsibility the party has assigned to me, I have performed it diligently”, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the state BJP, at its party’s organisational poll meeting here on Sunday, decided to complete the process for selection of new president of the state unit by the first week of January next year.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, chief spokesperson of the state BJP Suresh Pujari said election of the new state president will be completed in the first week of January.

He said for the first time in Odisha, the BJP has decided to send its local committee to election booth. Earlier the panchayat committee was sent to the election booth.

“This apart, the party, which had earlier formed the mandal by taking the block and the municipality together, has now decided to take the Zilla Parishad zone as the mandal considering 4-5 fold increase in the number of the local committee as well as the number of the mandals which have gone up to nearly 1000 from about 450”, Pujari said.

He said the process for election of the mandal presidents would begin by December 15 while the election of the district presidents is most likely to be completed by December end.

“The party will make efforts to get unanimous opinion in the selection of candidates for the post of president of the mandal and the district. After the completion of the election, the party will take a decision on the selection of new state president by the last week of December or in the first week of January,” Pujari informed.