BHUBANESWAR: Now that the BJD Government in the State headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is firmly ensconced in office, the focus is on rehabilitation of defeated leaders of the ruling party and those who were denied tickets in the 2019 General Elections.
Appointment to various State-run public sector undertakings is on the cards as all the defeated leaders and those denied tickets cannot be rehabilitated in Rajya Sabha. Sources said one of the senior leaders from the Western Odisha region will be appointed as the Chairman of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) which is vacant for more than two and a half months after the completion of tenure of Kishore Kumar Mohanty on June 18, 2019.
Mohanty was elected to the Assembly from Brajrajnagar constituency on BJD ticket in 2019 elections. Names of several leaders are doing the rounds as Mohanty’s replacement. Prominent among those who have emerged frontrunners for the post include former minister Pushpendra Singhdeo, former legislator Anup Sai and former Works Secretary Nalini Kanta Pradhan.
While Singhdeo and Pradhan unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 from Kalahandi and Sambalpur seats respectively, Sai was denied a ticket as Mohanty had to be accommodated from Brajrajnagar Assembly seat. Besides these three, several senior leaders from Western Odisha including Kalikesh Singhdeo, Raseswari Panigrahy, Nagendra Pradhan and Prabhas Singh were either defeated in the elections or denied tickets by the party.
However, those in the know of things maintained that Pushpendra Singhdeo has a greater chance to get the top post which is yet get any leader from Kalahandi district. He had also campaigned for the BJD candidate in the recent Patkura Assembly election and this may tilt the balance in his favour. However, sources did not rule out appointment of a non-political person from the Western Odisha region. A decision in this regard is likely to be taken by the Chief Minister soon.
Besides, organisational restructuring of BJD is also on the cards. Sources said membership drive of the party will be launched from next month to increase the number of active and ordinary members of BJD.