Buzz over portfolios for Odisha MPs in Modi government 3.0

Some of the new MPs may get at least two cabinet berths, one MoS
Dharmendra Pradhan, Aparajita Sarangi, Bishweswar Tudu
Dharmendra Pradhan, Aparajita Sarangi, Bishweswar TuduPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR: Close on the heels of the BJP registering a stunning victory in the state by pocketing 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats, speculations are rife about inclusion of some newly-elected MPs of Odisha in the Narendra Modi government 3.0.

Odisha’s contribution to the NDA tally is significant this time given the reduced number of MPs of the saffron party in the country as compared to 2019. The state BJP, which recorded its best-ever performance in 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is likely to reap rewards for it.

In Modi 2.0, the state had got two ministerial berths - one cabinet and another minister of state (MoS) at the Centre. While Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, was a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, Lok Sabha MP from Mayurbhanj Bishweswar Tudu was the MoS for Tribal Affairs and Jal Shakti.

In the last reshuffle, Tudu had replaced Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi, who was MoS for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and MSME. Sources in the party said the state unit may get at least two cabinet berths and one MoS in the third term of the Modi government.

Those likely to be inducted include Dharmendra Pradhan, Baijayant Panda, Aparajita Sarangi, Pradeep Purohit and Sambit Patra. Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi’s name is also doing the rounds for an MoS berth. However, the equation may change if Pradhan is chosen as the first BJP chief minister of Odisha. Sources said in that case, Sambalpur MLA Jayanarayan Mishra will resign and pave way for Pradhan to get elected to the Assembly. In place of Pradhan, Mishra will seek the mandate and be rewarded as a minister at the Centre.

The state BJP leaders, however, remained tight-lipped over the matter. However, party insiders opined that prominent faces among the newly-elected MPs, who have demonstrated leadership skills and loyalty to the party, stand a strong chance of being inducted into the central cabinet.

Political analysts said the unprecedented electoral gains in Odisha have bolstered expectations within the BJP rank and file who feel the state may get duly rewarded with ministerial berths in the upcoming government.

The inclusion of more Odisha MPs in ministerial roles is expected to not only address regional aspirations but also serve as a catalyst for accelerated development initiatives in the state as the party had assured people of double development if they voted in favour of BJP and helped form a ‘double-engine’ government.

Besides, speculations are also rife about Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab getting the speaker post, given his good performance in the Lok Sabha in the past.

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