Finally, the mantle has fallen on K V Singhdeo. Ending speculations, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Sunday announced the name of K V Singhdeo to head the State party unit.
Leader of the BJP Legislature Party and a former minister, Singhdeo will replace Jual Oram, whose three-year term expired in December last year. ‘’I am pleased to inform you that national president Rajnath Singh has appointed you as president of Odisha BJP unit. Your appointment comes into effect immediately,” said a letter from O P Kohli, BJP office in-charge, Delhi, to Singhdeo.
Four-time MLA from Patnagarh Assembly constituency, Singhdeo was a Cabinet minister in the BJD-BJP coalition government from 2000 to 2009. With many aspirants lobbying for the post, the national leadership of the party was struggling to name Oram’s successor.
However, the balance tilted in favour of KV after his name was cleared by RSS mandarins in-charge of Odisha.
Though Singhdeo was a strong favourite of a ‘powerful group’ of the party for the post of president, the State leadership had recommended names of Nayan Kishore Mohanty and Basanta Panda, both general secretaries in the State committee constituted by the outgoing president.
Panda, former MLA from Nuapada, was in the reckoning till he enjoyed the backing of the RSS. The RSS had to back off when it realised that Panda has no support base within the party. Though Nayan was a front-runner for the post, infighting within his group cost him dearly.
Murali Sharma, another general secretary of the party and a known supporter of Mohanty, reportedly played spoilsport by throwing his hat in the ring. Soon after KV’s name was announced, there were celebrations at the State BJP office with bursting of crackers and distribution of sweets.
The Oram team members were conspicuous by their absence. Welcoming Singhdeo’s appointment, national BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan told mediapersons that sobriety is the strong point of KV.
“He is amicable and has all the qualities of a leader. Having a spotless image, I am sure he will carry all the leaders of the party with him,” Pradhan said.