Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 16:
While hectic lobbying is on its last leg for the coveted BMC Mayor’s post, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will be holding a meeting with select party leaders this evening to zero in on the most suitable candidate from among those shortlisted by the party.
The election for the Mayor will be a formality as the nominee of the chief minister is most likely to win uncontested.
“The Chief Minister has called a meeting to discuss the matter at Naveen Nivas this evening. The final decision will be taken by him after consulting the party leaders,” said BJD vice-president and Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das.
Meanwhile, several names are doing the rounds in the BJD circle for BMC’s top post. Among the front runners are Sk Nizamuddin, outgoing Mayor Anant Naryan Jena, Amaresh Jena and Preetinanda Routray, said sources in the BJD.
Sources also revealed that the outgoing Mayor Jena is most likely to be offered the top job. He had won the just concluded polls with highest margin. Besides, he is considered very close to several senior leaders and ministers, which, many believe, will help him to get past other contenders.
Nizamuddin, who won the election for the third consecutive term and was a councilor before the BMC was formed, also has a bright chance to be nominated as the next mayor, sources said.
“He is the best choice taking into account his track record and clean image, ” a staunch supporter of Nizammuddin said.
The other strong contender is Amaresh Jena, who registered the second highest winning margin this time and has been a corporator two times earlier.
Even though Preetinanda Routray is a first time corporator and lacks experience, the fact that she is the daughter of Health minister Dr Damodar Rout may help her emerge as the dark horse, BJD sources said.
While assessing the chances of the four candidates, however, party leaders don’t rule out the possibility of someone outside this quartet could walk away to glory. It is Naveen’s word which would prevail in the end, they concede.
The BJD has 49 members in the 67-member corporation.