BJD Picks Tribal Leader For Odisha Assembly Deputy Speaker Post
Bhubaneswar: A day before the Legislative Assembly’s Deputy Speaker election, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Saluga Pradhan on Monday filed nomination for the post.
“BJD president Naveen Patnaik has nominated me for the post of Deputy Speaker. I will take the advice of the senior members to conduct the proceedings of the Assembly smoothly. I will respect the opinions of members of both ruling and opposition parties,” the two-time MLA from G Udayagiri told reporters.
His nomination is being seen as an attempt by the ruling party to strengthen tribal representation in important posts. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already appointed 3 tribal leaders – Jagannath Saraka, Sudam Marndi and Basanti Hembram – as ministers. With Pradhan’s election to the Deputy Speaker’s post a foregone conclusion with Opposition parties fielding no candidate and the ruling BJD enjoying a thumping majority in the House, another tribal leader will occupy a prominent constitutional position in the state.
The legislators, however, said that there is no truth in the assumptions that BJD nominated him, eyeing the tribal votes. “I have been MLA for two times, so I am eligible to be the Deputy Speaker,” he said.
The position fell vacant after Rajanikant Singh resigned on November 8, saying he was unable to participate in party activities ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “The Deputy Speaker post is a constitutional one, for which I was unable to participate in party activities. It was a pending decision. I stepped down in view of the upcoming actions. It will allow me to strengthen party’s organisation and reach out to the people,” he said soon after tendering his resignation.
On November 14, the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly sent a letter in this regard to all members of the House, informing them that the poll will be held at 9.30 am on November 21, coinciding with the commencement of winter session of Odisha Assembly.