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Hectic Lobby Begins For Ministerial Berths, Who Would Naveen Patnaik Choose?


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25 May 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: Soon after the counting of votes and results already announced, all the elected BJD MLAs today not only paid a courtesy visit to their party supremo Naveen Patnaik to seek his blessings, but also ostensibly began their hectic lobby for ministerial berths as the swearing-in ceremony of Council of Ministers is slated on May 29 next week.

The regional satrap’s residence, Naveen Niwas, today witnessed a beeline of the elected MLAs as had been the scene prior to the polls. While they had previously thronged the place for lobbying for party tickets as BJD MLA candidates, their hectic lobby today after victory was for being a minister.

Political expert and senior journalist Prasant Patnaik opined, “The Chief Minister (Naveen Patnaik) will play a balancing game. He will choose some new faces and also some old and experienced in his new Council of Ministers. If the experienced are not taken into the cabinet, it may create problems. If all new comers are given ministerial berths, they will either be totally guided or misguided by the bureaucrats.”

He also opined, “The new Council of Ministers will certainly be represented by women and that too in ample numbers as per the one-third theory of Naveen Babu. Whatever required for an effective governance will be done by him.”

“This time Naveen Babu’s first consideration will be efficiency and clean image while forming his Council of Ministers. He will also take the step with utmost care and vigilance. This new Council of Ministers will have the representation of women, youth and experienced,” he remarked.

In her reactions, former minister Snehangini Chhuria said, “Our party chief and hon’ble Chief Minister has always laid stress on the women. For this reason, he had given tickets to 33% women candidates for the Parliament as well as Assembly election this time.”

“Allocating ministerial berth is under the sole discretion of the Chief Minister basing on the track record of good work, being close to the people and having aptly delivered good governance. One who is up to the mark will definitely get a ministerial berth. Whatever responsibilities have been entrusted to me earlier, I have fared well. Now also whatever responsibility will be given to me, I’ll perform well,” she stated.

In her reactions, two-time MLA Tukuni Sahoo said, “Whatever responsibilities hon’ble Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has entrusted, I have always performed well. Hence, whatever further responsibility be given to me, I’ll perform.”

On being asked about her wish for being a minister, Tukuni replied, “I don’t nourish any such wish. If the Chief Minister takes me into  confidence, I’ll certainly deliver as per his expectations.”

Former minister and senior MLA Pramila Mallick said, “I met today the Chief Minister. Owing to his blessings, we had got party tickets, went to the people, propagated his welfare programmes and now we are back as winners.”

“Forming the Council of Ministers is the sole discretion of the Chief Minister and thus it is of no use being be in the race or demand for a ministerial berth. It is only he who knows to make whom the minister. Everyone is hopeful, be it the newly-elected MLA. There isn’t any bar to hope for something. Whatever will be the hon’ble Chief Minister’s decision, all of us will obey,” she asserted.

Another senior MLA and former minister Prafulla Mallick also said, “No comments on it as it is sole discretion of the hon’ble Chief Minister. There is no point of new or old MLA. It’s up to his choice. You all know I have performed my responsibilities whatever and whenever I have been entrusted with.”

Senior MLA and former minister Prafulla Samal in his media reactions said, “Normally, the legislature party meeting is held after the poll and the leader is elected. As the 16th Assembly is going to be formed, today that meeting has been convened. Hence, we all the elected representatives are joining it.”

On being queried if he is in the race of ministerial berth, pat came his reply, “No way we’re in the race. If at all he entrusts any responsibility, it’s well and good. But, we won’t demand for any portfolio. It’s sufficient to be an MLA.”

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Prasanta Patnaik, Senior Journalist

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Snehangini Chhuria, Senior BJD MLA & Former Minister

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Tukuni Sahoo, MLA Elect, BJD

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Pramila Mallick, Senior BJD MLA & Former Minister

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Prafulla Mallick, Senior BJD MLA & Former Minister

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Prafulla Samal, Senior BJD MLA & Former Minister