Rajanikant Singh Likely To Resign From Post Of Deputy Speaker Of Odisha Assembly

Bhubaneswar: Five months after resignation of Bikram Keshari Arukha as Speaker of Odisha Assembly to rejoin the Naveen Patnaik ministry, speculation is rife that Rajanikant Singh may follow suit and quit the Deputy Speaker post.

While no official announcement has been made yet, BJD sources said he is likely to quit the post to devote more time to political and organisational works in Angul with an eye on the 2014 elections. He is likely to meet the Speaker and submit his resignation on November 8, sources said.

Singh is a popular leader of the undivided Dhenkanal district. The BJD may assign him some important responsibilities 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 added.

A four-time legislator from Angul constituency, Singh was elected as the Deputy Speaker of Odisha Assembly in June 2019. He also served as Steel and Mines Minister under Naveen Patnaik government earlier.

In May, Arukha and two other 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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