Naveen resigns as Odisha CM, holds meeting with BJD MLAs

Naveen told the MLAs as the party has lost the elections, it will play the role of a constructive Opposition.
Naveen Patnaik tenders his resignation as chief minister to Governor Raghubar Das at Raj Bhawan, in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday
Naveen Patnaik tenders his resignation as chief minister to Governor Raghubar Das at Raj Bhawan, in Bhubaneswar on WednesdayPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR: Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday submitted his resignation to Governor Raghubar Das at the Raj Bhavan, paving way for formation of the 17th Legislative Assembly and a new cabinet.

Thanking the 4.5 crore people of Odisha for giving him a chance to serve them for such a long period of time, he reasserted his firm commitment to continue serving the people of the state.

Naveen’s 25-year-long tenure as the chief minister came to an end following the BJD’s massive defeat in the Assembly elections, results of which were declared on Tuesday. The BJP won 78 seats in the 147-member Assembly while the BJD number was restricted to 51. Congress bagged 14 seats.

Later in the evening, Naveen held a meeting with the newly-elected party MLAs at Naveen Niwas. The first meeting after the election results were announced, however, had a conspicuous absentee - VK Pandian. Organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das was present in the meeting. Naveen took charge of the proceedings and interacted with the MLAs. He announced that a committee will be formed to inquire into the causes of the party’s defeat. Another committee will train first-timers on how to participate in Assembly proceedings.

Naveen told the MLAs as the party has lost the elections, it will play the role of a constructive Opposition. He asked the MLAs to serve the people of their constituency and the state. “The BJD government worked hard for the people of the state during the last 24 years and we should not feel ashamed of our work. When I took oath as the chief minister around 70 per cent of the people were below poverty line which has now come down to 10 per cent,” he said.

The BJD supremo was with the MLAs for 35 to 40 minutes, the longest time he spent with party leaders in recent time. It was also after years that the MLAs got a chance to interact with Naveen and were face to face with him. No restrictions were imposed on the MLAs to make their speeches. Several MLAs including former ministers Ranendra Pratap Swain, Arun Sahoo and Ganeswar Behera addressed the meeting and stated that the party will bounce back.

No discussions were, however, held on the leader of the legislature party or any other organisational posts. Sources said that Naveen will be elected as the leader of the legislature party at the formal meeting of the MLAs. “It is for him to decide whether to accept the post,” a senior leader said.

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