With an incredible consecutive victory in the assembly polls, Naveen Patnaik today took oath as chief minister of Orissa becoming the first politician in the state to become a CM for the fourth time.
Despite all naysayers predicting a tough challenge from Congress and BJP in the polls, Naveen (67), simply blew away the opposition winning 117 seats in the 147-member assembly, bettering his 2009 record of 103 seats. So far, JB Patnaik of Congress has become CM of the state for three times. Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik was CM only twice.
At a glittering function on the lawns of Raj Bhawan here this morning, Naveen was sworn in by Governor SC Jamir with a team of 21 other ministers – 11 Cabinet and 10 Ministers of State. The eleven who were sworn in as cabinet ministers are Dr Damodar Rout, Debi Prasad Mishra, Pradip Kumar Amat, Bijayshree Routray, Badri Narayan Patra, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Lal Behari Himirika, Pradip Maharathi, Usha Devi, Puspendra Singhdeo and Jogendra Behera. The ten ministers of state are Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Arun Kumar Sahu, Ashok Kumar Panda, Sanjay Dasburma, Sudam Marandi, Pradip Panigrahi, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, Prafulla Mallick, Pranab Prakash Das and Snehangini Chhuria.
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However, portfolios have not been decided yet.
Ministers like Debi Prasad Mishra, Damodar Rout, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Bijoyshree Routray, Arun Sahu, Usha Devi, Badri Patra were in the previous ministry. The major omissions are Surya Patro and Bijay Ranjan Bariha.
Among 10 Ministers of State, seven were first-timers except Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Arun Sahu and Ramesh Majhi. Unlike the last time, there is only one royal family member in the ministry – Usha Devi who was elected from Chikiti in Ganjam district.
Soon after the swearing-in, Naveen reached the State Secretariat where he was given a huge welcome by the government employees. “We have to keep on working for the development of the state,” said Naveen, who addressed over 160 meeting during this election, almost double of what he addressed last time.
Though Naveen tried to work out regional balance, he left districts like Balasore, Malkangiri, Sundargarh and Sambalpur unrepresented. Of the 22 ministers, 10 are from coastal districts of undivided Cuttack, Balasore and Ganjam and Puri. There were two women faces – Usha Devi and first-timer Snehangini Chhuria.
There are speculations that Naveen may make Pramila Mallick, who was minister in his previous Cabinet, the Speaker of Assembly as a tribute to the women voters backing him. Mallick, a Dalit, who represents Binjharpur in Jajpur district, would be the first woman to become Speaker.