BHUBANESWAR: The anxious wait for getting a berth in the fifth Naveen Patnaik-led ministry came to an end after a list of 21 ministers was formally handed over to Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal’s office on Tuesday, a day ahead of the mega swearing-in ceremony.
The ministry will be a blend of experience and new faces as the Chief Minister retained a number of existing ministers in his new team. As many as 20 ministers including 11 Cabinet and nine Ministers of State will be inducted into the ministry.
However, two high profile leaders, both Rajya Sabha members, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Pratap Deb, who won Assembly elections from Khandapara and Aul seats by huge margins, seem to have been disappointed as their names are missing from the list.
Those from the outgoing ministry to be retained in the new team include Bikram Keshari Arukha, Pratap Jena, Sushant Singh, Ashok Chandra Panda, Niranjan Pujari and Prafulla Mallick. Several former ministers including Padmanabha Behera, Arun Sahu and Ranendra Pratap Swain are inducted into the ministry.
The new faces in the ministry include Tukuni Sahu (Titlagarh), Sameer Dash (Nimapara), Naba Kishore Das (Jharsuguda), Dibyashankar Mishra (Junagarh), Jagannath Saraka (Bissam Katak), Jyoti Prakash Panigray (Simulia), Raghunandan Das (Balikuda-Erasama), Padmini Dian (Kotpad), Premanand Nayak (Telkoi) and Tushar Kanti Behera (Kakatpur).
However, both the women members in the outgoing Naveen Patnaik ministry, Usha Devi and Snehangini Chhuria, have been overlooked. Similarly, former minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak is also likely to miss the bus.
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Finance Minister in the outgoing ministry Sashi Bhusan Behera too was left out while former Speaker Pradip Amat has not been accommodated in any post. Behera, who was shifted from the Jayadev to Kendrapara Assembly constituency, won by 6,320 votes while Amat retained the Boudh Assembly seat by a margin of 10,448 votes from his BJP rival.
Besides, undivided Ganjam, the home district of the Chief Minister, also did not get any representation in the ministry because of the not so impressive performance of the ruling BJD. The Assembly segment of Bhanjanagar, represented by Arukha who is likely to be inducted in the ministry, is under Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency
Old-new faces blend in Naveen’s new team
While Arukha won from Bhanjanagar with a margin of 9,103 votes, Jena was elected from Mahanga constituency by 29,585 votes.
Singh, the energy minister in the outgoing ministry, won the polls with a convincing margin of 23,232 votes while Ashok Chandra Panda won Bhubaneswar-Central seat by 28,657 votes.
Raghunandan Dash won Balikuda-Erasama seat by a huge margin of 54,583 votes from where senior BJP leader Damodar Rout was relegated to the third position.
The mega swearing-in ceremony will be attended by who’s who of India Inc apart from eminent personalities from various fields. Industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla, Naveen Jindal, ITC chief Sanjeev Puri, MD of Tata Steel TV Narendran, Tech Mahindra MD CP Gurnani, Mindtree chairman KK Natrajan, OCL boss and Dalmia Bharat Group MD Puneet Dalmia, Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Group Sangita Reddy, eminent sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra, doyen of Odia music Prafulla Kar have been invited to the function apart from a large number of women self-help group members.
Speaker post for Surya Narayan Patro
Bhubaneswar: BJD veteran Surya Narayan Patro is likely to be the new Speaker in the new Assembly. Patro, a BJD old hand, has served in the Biju Patnaik ministry in the early 1990s and also in different ministries headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. In the outgoing ministry, Patro was the minister for food supplies and consumer welfare.
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A seven-time MLA, Patro has been winning elections since 1990 consecutively and retained Digapahandi Assembly seat in Ganjam district this time. The former minister told this paper that BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had called him and conveyed his desire that he should be the Speaker in the new Assembly.
“I have been minister for long (22 years). This will be a new responsibility and new experience,” he said. BJD sources said the party top brass zeroed in on Patro for the Speaker’s job as he has nearly three decades of legislative experience and there is a need to have a senior person to skilfully deal with Assembly matters. Besides, senior leader Pramila Mallick will be the government chief whip in the new Assembly.
A five-time MLA from Binjharpur in Jajpur district, Mallick had earlier served as minister in the Naveen Patnaik Government but had to quit in February, 2011. Sources said the BJD leadership did not want to accommodate them in the ministry. However, Patro and Mallick had to be accommodated as Speaker and government chief whip respectively as their seniority and continuous electoral success could not be overlooked.