BHUBANESWAR: Ending all speculation, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Saturday proposed the name of former Minister Niranjan Pujari for the post of Speaker of the 15th Odisha Legislative Assembly. Election for the post will be held on May 26.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced Pujari as the new Speaker. Pujari will succeed Pradip Kumar Amat, who has taken over as the new Finance Minister. “It has been decided that Niranjan Pujari will be the Honorable Speaker of the Assembly,” Naveen told media.
Naveen proposed Pujari’s name before the Assembly Secretary while Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh seconded the proposal. Election for the Speaker, which will be held on Monday, will be a mere formality because Pujari is to be elected unopposed. While the BJD has won 117 seats in the Assembly, the Congress tally has been reduced to 16 and the BJP has won from ten Assembly seats.
The Chief Minister picked Pujari’s name among a number of contenders for the prestigious post of Speaker of the Assembly. Those in the race included president of the Biju Mahila Janata Dal and former Minister Pramila Mallik, former Ministers Mangala Kissan, Bed Prakash Agrawal and Padmanabha Behera and party MLA Nrusingha Charan Sahu.