Who will find place in CM Naveen Patnaik’s new cabinet?

Bhubaneswar: After setting a new record with an emphatic win in the 2019 assembly elections, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik is likely to take oath as the chief minister of Odisha for the fifth consecutive term on May 27 (Monday).

Much before the swearing-in ceremony, speculations are now rife over who will find berth in the Naveen’s new cabinet. A high-level meeting of the BJD legislature party has been convened on Sunday (May 26) to chalk out party’s strategy, reports said.

Hectic parleys have reportedly begun amidst speculations that several old and new faces and women leaders will be given prominence in Naveen Patnaik’s new council of ministers.

Names of Bhupinder Singh, Manohar Randhari, Surjya Narayan Patro, Pradip Panigrahi, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Jagannath Saraka, Snehangini Churia, Sushant Singh, Naba Das, Kishore Mohanty, Sarada Nayak, Pradip Amat, Prafulla Mallick, Rajnikant Singh and Debi Prasad Mishra are doing rounds.

Similarly, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Chandra Sarathi Behera, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Arun Sahu, Ashok Panda, Sudam Marandi, Pramila Mallick, Pranab Prakash Das, Pratap Deb and Pratap Jena are also being touted to get important portfolios.

Discussions are on regarding whether Naveen will go with the old and experienced leaders or induct new faces in his new cabinet or will focus on picking ministers to give representation to each district or give scope to non-controversial leaders.

“BJD president will take decision on selecting new cabinet and we do not have anything to say,” said senior leader SN Patro.

“Whatever Naveen Patnaik decides, all leaders will abide by it and accept the new responsibilities,” said BJD leader, Sameer Dash.

“Whatever role was given, I had discharged with utmost dedication. I don’t want to speculate on what new role will be given as it will be the prerogative of the party supremo,” said Debi Prasad Mishra.

Sources said, Pradip Amat, Niranjan Pujahari, Kishore Mohanty and Debi Prasad Mishra are front runners for the post of Speaker of Odisha Assembly.