Naveen Patnaik was elected leader of the BJD legislature party for the fifth time in a row on Sunday and was invited by Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal to form the new government in the state.
Patnaik was elected in a meeting of BJD MLAs at the party headquarters in Bhubaneswar. According to sources, BJD MLA elect from Bhanjanagar Bikram Keshari Arukh first proposed Patnaik’s name as leader of the legislature party, while it was seconded by nine women elected to the Assembly.
With 44.7 per cent of votes, the BJD has 112 MLAs in the new Assembly. Every elected MLA of the regional party expressed gratitude to Patnaik, calling the victory “historic for any regional party in the country”.
Patnaik also chaired a meeting of all newly elected Lok Sabha candidates of the BJD and advised them to focus on issues, such as special category status for the state, 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies, as well as greater funds for disaster management in Odisha.
However, no formal decision has been taken on the party’s Lok Sabha leaders. Patnaik also advised his new MLA colleagues to maintain simplicity, adding that will endear them to the people.
Patnaik later met Governor Ganeshi Lal to convey that he has been elected as leader of his party. He was extended an invitation to form the new government by the Governor who received a booklet from the Chief Electoral Officer (Odisha) Surendra Kumar on the newly elected MLAs to the state Assembly.
With this new government, Patnaik will achieve a milestone in Indian politics as chief minister for full five consecutive terms. The chief minister has served two terms from 2000 to 2009 in alliance with the BJP. He then served two more terms with a single party government of the BJD.
The oath-taking ceremony of the government is likely be held on May 29. According to sources, the new government will focus on awarding departments to “women, younger MLAs and those who had resigned after panchayats elections in 2017 to work for the party”.