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Odisha: BJP’s CM face to be decided by party’s parliamentary committee, says Samal

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NewsDrum Desk
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Bhubaneswar, May 13 (PTI) Amidst speculation surrounding the announcement of BJP's chief ministerial candidate, the party's Odisha unit chief, Manmohan Samal, on Monday said the party's parliamentary committee will take a decision on the matter.

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Samal made the remark during a press conference, attended by senior leaders including Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, former Union minister and Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, and the party’s national vice-president Baijyant Panda.

Earlier in the day, the ruling BJD leaders came up with several posts in social media forecasting that the BJP will announce its CM face on Monday.

Samal said, "They (BJD) should think about their own party rather than focusing on us. The BJD lacks a proper leader while an agent is running the regional party. Our parliamentary committee will decide the BJP’s CM candidate." On the other hand, BJD MP and party’s national spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the BJP could not announce its CM candidate due to dispute among aspirants.

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"All of us had heard that Odisha BJP will declare their CM candidate today, but there was so much quarrelling among aspirants that they could not announce it. Odisha BJP cannot announce the CM candidate because if they do, their party in Odisha will break into four parts," Patra posted on X.

BJD leader and CM’s close aide V K Pandian had also asked the BJP to announce its CM face before elections and claimed that the saffron party would not get even 10 per cent of votes if they make such a declaration.

"They are not admitting to the fact that they (BJD) are losing. All the four Lok Sabha constituencies and majority of the assembly seats that went to polls today will be bagged by BJP. All the phases in Odisha will go in favour of BJP," Samal added.

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Referring to a recent statement of Pandian on the 2008 Kandhamal riots, Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi urged people to dethrone the BJD government and blamed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. A communal riot had erupted in Kandhamal following Saraswati's murder in 2008.

"Security personnel were not there when criminals opened fire on Saraswati killing him and his four associates," Sarangi alleged.

Referring to the BJD government’s flagship Puri Heritage Corridor project, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi questioned the state government over entrusting the work to ‘Bhoomi Putra’, which according to her is a south Indian firm with no prior expertise.

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"I want to ask Sana babu (referring to Pandian), who is desperate to become the bada babu (chief minister), what was the motive behind handing over the Rs 4,200 crore project to this firm. We urge people to check the company's credentials," she said.

Aparajita also alleged that the Tamil Nadu Generation Distribution Corporation is buying power at 2.52 paisa per unit from Odisha while consumers of the state are being charged 2.82 paisa.

"Why is Odisha providing power to Tamil Nadu at lower rates while charging its own consumers more?” she asked.

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Noting that the state government was "outsourced" in Odisha, party's national vice-president Baijayant Panda expressed concern over chief minister being allegedly 'hijacked' by someone from outside the state.

"The one (Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik) whom the people of Odisha had voted to power is being controlled like a puppet,” he said.

"Naveen Babu was not like this before 2018; he was not controlled by anyone. It hurts me personally as I have family relationship with Biju Parivar for decades," he said, adding that time has come to free the CM from "jail-like" situation.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan raised the migration issue and asked why the people of Odisha were migrating to Gujarat if everything is right in the state. He made the remark in reference to Pandian releasing some data on Odisha’s better performance than Gujarat. PTI AAM AAM MNB

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