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Naveen may take oath on Friday

Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik is all set to begin his third term as Chief Minister of Orissa after his party MLAs formally re-elected....

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneshwar |
May 20, 2009 2:51:06 am

Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik is all set to begin his third term as Chief Minister of Orissa after his party MLAs formally re-elected him as the BJD Legislature Party leader on Tuesday. He is expected to take oath of office on Friday. The BJD won 103 out of 147 seats in the state Assembly and 14 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in the recently concluded polls.

Addressing the 102 legislators of his party soon after his re-election,an emotional Naveen said,“The kind of support the people of the state have given me is unforgettable. I am also grateful to all the MLAs”. Meanwhile,the state’s chief electoral officer Alka Panda presented the list of 147 MLAs to Governor M C Bhandare on Tuesday evening,following which the Governor will invite Naveen to form the government.

His third term will be particularly sweet for Naveen,as the victory comes in the wake of his party’s split with the BJP. After the break-up,the BJD’s vote-share increased from 27 per cent to 38.86 per cent while that of the BJP came down to 15.05 per cent from 17.11 per cent in 2004 Assembly polls. Similarly,the BJD’s vote-share in the Lok Sabha polls also went up to 37.28,a rise of over 7 per cent while that of BJP went down to 16.89 per cent from 19 per cent.

However,the core committee of the state BJP,which met on Tuesday,concluded that the vote base of the party has not seen any considerable erosion and that EVMs must have been tampered with.

“Science is both a blessing and curse. In countries like the US and Canada,EVMs have been junked in favour of paper ballots. We strongly suspect that EVMs were tampered with,” alleged BJP state president Suresh Pujari. BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra,who lost from Patkura Assembly seat,said that the BJD’s winning percentage in the second phase of Assembly — 71 out of 77 seats — gave rise to such a suspicion.

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