Triangular race delays BJP state head selection

Bhubaneswar: After the ‘failed’ high profile New Delhi meeting involving both central and state party heavyweights, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) central leadership has left the ball in the state unit’s court to decide its chief on consensus, thanks to the triangular race for the post.

The BJP state leaders are meeting today to take a decision in this regard.

Party insiders say while general secretary Nayan Mohanty has so far emerged as a favourite candidate among many to succeed Jual Oram, RSS-backed Basant Panda is not too far in the race in which leader of the BJP legislator party KV Singh Deo is another strong contender.

Political observers feel that KV Singh Deo has the support of many legislators, district-level leaders and former MLAs and the group opposes Mohanty who is understandably favoured by functionaries of all the 22 organisational districts for which elections were held recently.  

According to highly placed sources, Panda, who does not belong to any group of the faction-ridden BJP is not liked by many in the party for his ideology. The former Nuapada MLA is also not a very known figure in the coastal region of the state unlike Singh Deo.

The equally competent runners for the top post with strong base of supporters have left the Central leadership in a dilemma which was evident from the recent ‘inconclusive’ meeting held on December 25 in New Delhi.

Though as many as six senior leaders from Odisha attended the meeting convened by BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, it failed, according to sources to find out unanimity among them for their choice to succeed outgoing president Jual Oram, whose three-year term ended on December 22.

Earlier this month central observers- national BJP general secretary Narendra Singh Tomar and secretary in-charge of Odisha Santosh Gangwar visited the state and took views of a cross-section of the party leaders.

“We are holding a meeting tomorrow to discuss on the party organisation in which consensus on party state chief is likely” said Oram.