BJP likely to select CM after Modi's oath-taking ceremony: Party's Odisha chief

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 8 (PTI) The BJP's parliamentary party is likely to select the chief minister of Odisha after Narendra Modi takes oath as the country's prime minister for the third term on Sunday, a saffron camp leader said here.

After returning to the state from New Delhi on Saturday, Odisha BJP chief Manmohan Samal said, "Wait for two more days".

The BJP secured a majority in the elections by winning 78 of the 147-member Odisha assembly.

The parliamentary party of the BJP would select the chief minister at its meeting, Samal said, adding that he does "not have any idea on the next chief minister of the state".

“I had gone to Delhi to attend a meeting to select the NDA’s parliamentary party leader and Lok Sabha leader. All newly elected MPs from the state were present there. We also attended other party programmes arranged in Delhi,” he said at the airport here.

The BJP won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

Samal also said he, as the president of the Odisha BJP, has been coordinating with all stakeholders in making arrangements for the oath-taking function.

The BJP leader claimed that its parliamentary party is yet to select the next Odisha CM.

On several requests by reporters, he said, “Wait for two more days and you will be informed about the party's decision on the new chief minister. There are highly experienced leaders of the party at the Centre and they will take the decision keeping the interest of the state in mind.” Asked whether he was in the race for the chief minister’s post, Samal said, “I am not...I am just executing whatever responsibility is assigned to me.” said Samal, who was defeated in Chandbali in the recently concluded Odisha assembly elections.

Several names such as Sambalpur MP and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Samal, former state BJP president and newly elected MLA from Patnagarh KV Singh Deo, tribal leader Mohan Majhi, who has been elected from Keonjhar seat, are doing rounds.

Pradhan is considered the BJP’s face in the state and he belongs to the OBC category, while Singh Deo is a five-time legislator and worked as minister in the Naveen Patnaik Council of Ministers for nine years between 2000 and 2009. During this period, the BJD-BJP coalition government ruled the state.

Though Samal was defeated in the assembly polls, his supporters claimed that Pushkar Singh Dhami lost the assembly election in Uttarakhand but was chosen as the CM.

During the election campaign in the state, Modi had said the party would make a "bhumi putra (son of soil)" the Odisha chief minister. PTI AAM AAM BDC

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