Fissures in BJP's Odisha unit come to fore again

Fissures in BJP's Odisha unit come to fore again

With the BJP unit failing to elect a leader, it was then left to the party high command in New Delhi to select the new leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

The fissures in the Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the fore again, with a senior legislator and former minister Jayanarayan Mohanty publicly expressing his displeasure over the selection of leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly. He also accused the central as well as state party leadership of treating him unfairly.

With 23 newly-elected MLAs, the BJP has emerged as the principal Opposition party for the first time in the state, after the recently held Assembly elections, pushing the Congress, which managed to capture only nine seats out of 147, to the third spot.

However, when the newly-elected BJP legislature party met here about three weeks back to elect a new leader, it failed to do so because of internal party struggle on the issue.

With the BJP unit failing to elect a leader, it was then left to the party high command in New Delhi to select the new leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. And it put its stamp on the name of Pradip Kumar Nayak, also a senior leader and former minister.

If Mohanty is to be believed, majority of the newly-elected legislators had put forward his name for the post of leader of the Opposition at the BJP LP meeting, where the central observers of the party were also present.

“Majority of the party legislators had suggested my name for the important post. I don’t know why I was overlooked by the party Central leadership. Only they can explain,” the four-time legislator from Sambalpur Assembly constituency in western Odisha has gone on record saying.

The saffron party’s state unit president and newly-elected Lok Sabha member from Kalahandi, Basanta Panda, has also expressed his views on the controversy. “Opinion from the newly elected legislators was sought for the selection of post of leader of the opposition. All of them had agreed that they will accept the party high command’s choice,” Panda said, adding that the party central leadership’s decision will strengthen the party.