Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 24:
The BJD Parliamentary Party (BJDPP) comprising MPs from both houses of the Parliament would meet today at Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence to formally elect the BJDPP leaders and party whips in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Although there are as many as 20 party MPs- including 12 new faces- in the Lok Sabha , there are only five names that are doing the rounds as front runners for the post of the BJDPP leader in the lower house.
Apart from the 8-time MP from Bhadrak and former Union minister Arjun Charan Sethi Sethi , who has been holding that post for the last several years, 5-time MPs Prasanna Patasani ( Bhubaneswar) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (Cuttack), 4-time MPs Baijayant Panda ( twice as Rajya Sabha MP and twice as Kendrapra MP), Tathagata Satpathy (Dhenkanal) as well as the 3-time MP Pinaki Mishra (Puri) are believed to have been in the race.
If one goes by the national profile of BJD MPs, Baijayant (Jay) Panda is clearly ahead of the rest and has almost become the face of the BJD in Delhi. Bhartruhari Mahtab and Tathagata Satpathy have been active and vocal in the Lok Sabha debates while Pinaki Mishra has his own standing as a Supreme Court lawyer and a politician with the right connections.
It may sound uncharitable, but the fact remains that both Arjun Charan Sethi and Prasanna Patsani have not been able to make their presence felt in national politics despite their long stints as MPs. While the former does not have the gift of the gab or the dash, the latter’s oratorial skills are limited to just Odia.
However, the BJD boss is not known to be a stickler for quality when it comes to politics. The selection of party candidates in the last Lok Sabha polls more than amply bears this out.
Observers say, the selection of the BJDPP leaders in both houses would depend more on the personal equation of the concerned person with the party boss rather than merit or experience.
That perhaps explains why the name of the newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Kalpataru Das, a complete greenhorn in parliamentary politics, is even in circulation for the post of the BJDPP leader in the upper house.
There are speculations that the BJD boss Naveen Patnaik may choose from among Arjun Charan Sethi, Bhartruhari Mahtab and Jay Panda for the post of BJDPP leader in Lok Sabha while either Kalikesh Singhdeo or Prasanna Patasani could be considered for the post of chief whip.