BJD Legislature Party To Meet On June 19; Who Will Be LoP In Odisha Assembly?

Bhubaneswar: A meeting of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Legislature Party is slated to be held in Bhubaneswar on June 19 to elect its leader and deputy leader.

According to sources, the important meeting will be held at 4.30 pm on Wednesday and the newly-elected MLAs of the regional party will choose their leader, who will be the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Odisha Assembly.

The new BJD legislators are also likely to elect a deputy leader of the legislature party.

While speculations are rife over the issue, political observers are of the view that BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik will be the next Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, a role which he will play for the first time in his long political career.

The party will also have to decide the name of his deputy in the House to manage the day-to-day affairs.

While many BJD heavyweights have lost the Assembly election, some withstood the saffron surge and got elected. Sources said one of them will be elected as the deputy of the party supremo.

Senior BJD leaders who have been elected include former ministers Prasanna Acharya (Rairakhol), Ranendra Pratap Swain (Athagarh), Arun Sahu (Nayagarh) and Pratap Deb (Aul). Sources said one of these leaders is likely to be handed over the charge to run the party in the Assembly with 51 BJD members.

Acharya is considered the frontrunner for the deputy post as he is the senior most among these leaders.

While there is no provision for the post of deputy leader, observers said a similar arrangement was made when late J B Patnaik was the LoP from 2004 to 2009. Veteran Congress leader Narasingha Mishra was the deputy leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) during the period.

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