Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader Samir Mohanty took charge as the President of the state unit of the saffron party here on Friday.
The outgoing President Basanta Panda handed over the charge to Mohanty at a programme held at party’s headquarters in presence of Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi, BJP’s state in-charge Arun Singh and national vice-president Baijayant Panda.
A day before the scheduled election, Mohanty on Thursday had emerged as a consensual candidate for the post and party observer for organisational polls Narendra Singh Tomar had announced his name as the next president of the Odisha BJP later in the evening.
It is after 14 years that a leader from coastal Odisha has been picked for the top post of the saffron party in the state. K V Singhdeo, Jual Oram, Suresh Pujari, Debendra Pradhan, Bimbdhar Kuanr, Manmohan Samal and Biswabhusan Harichandan have in the past helmed the party in the state.
Barring Harichandan and Samal, the others represent western Odisha. Pradhan, father of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, is from central Odisha and represented Deogarh in western Odisha in Parliament. Panda is also from western Odisha.
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The decision to elevate Mohanty, who was serving as a party vice president, is seemingly aimed at strengthening the party support base in coastal Odisha, where ruling BJD is dominant. He might help to improve the party prospects in the urban parts, keeping in view the municipal polls that are due, a party insider said.