Rajanikant Singh Steps Down As Odisha Assembly Deputy Speaker; What Next?

Bhubaneswar: Putting all speculation to rest, Rajanikant Singh on Wednesday resigned from the post of Deputy Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

He stepped down from the post citing personal reason and handed over his resignation letter to Speaker Pramila Mallik.

“I had been contemplating stepping down from the apolitical post for a long time as it did not allow me to engage in party activities. It became imperative with elections round the corner. Now, I will be able to devote more time to the party and reach out to the people,” Singh said soon after tendering his resignation.

On whether he will be entrusted with any responsibility in the organisation, the four-time legislator from Angul constituency said that it is for the party chief to decide.

Singh is a popular leader of the undivided Dhenkanal district. He is likely to be assigned a crucial organisational role in BJD amid reports about Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan contesting the 2024 elections from either the Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat, which comprises Dhenkanal and Angul districts, or the Sambalpur LS constituency, the sources said.

He was elected as the Deputy Speaker of Odisha Assembly in June 2019 and earlier served as Steel and Mines Minister in Naveen Patnaik government.

In May, Arukha and two ministers — Srikanta Sahu (labour and employment) and Samir Ranjan Dash (school and mass education) resigned from their posts. While Arukha, a six-time MLA from Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district, had stepped down on personal grounds, he was re-inducted in Naveen Patnaik’s Cabinet and later allocated the finance portfolio in what appeared to be a strategic move aimed at consolidating the BJD in its stronghold of Ganjam. Subsequently, Pramilla Mallik resigned as Revenue Minister and took over as Speaker.

Notably, the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker keep the concerned legislator away from being involved in government and party work. Since the position is apolitical, they are not allowed to take part in political activities, including those of his or her own party. The person occupying the chair find it difficult to take up political activities.

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