Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 8:
Unfazed by all kinds of negative reports, including the one prepared by the state intelligence department suggesting a poor performance by the BJD at the hustings, the party head and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is looking forward to forming the government for a record fourth time in the third week of May.
“Reports and inputs from the grassroots indicate that BJD will come up with a very comfortable majority in the Assembly and prove the naysayers wrong, ” a minister told OST on Thursday.
While conceding they may have to deal with a ‘stronger and more belligerent’ Opposition in the new House. the minister said contrary to rumours doing the rounds, there is no apprehension whatsoever, about the stability of their next government.
A report published in a daily Odia newspaper today said senior BJD leaders, including ministers, have already started lobbying for various ‘lucrative’ ministerial portfolios in the new Naveen Patnaik ministry. The ‘lucrative’ departments include Water Resources, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development. Steel & Mines and Works.
The report said only those who have a clean image and whose loyalty to Naveen Patnaik is above suspicion would be able to make it to the new cabinet. It also said that the chief minister will most likely keep Home, General Administration, Works and Water Resources with him because these departments could make or mar the image of the government.
A senior BJD leader said the biggest challenge before the chief minister is to identify two experienced and shrewd leaders, who can handle two crucial posts – the Speaker and the minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs – in view of the possibility of a strong and aggressive Opposition emerging this time as also the need to keep a watch over dissidents within the party if it turns out to be a fragile majority in the House.
He said former Speakers Maheswar Mohanty and Kishore Mohanty as well as former minister Jugal Kishore Patnaik are likely to be considered for the Speaker’s post, provided they win their seats. However, with former Parliamentary Affairs minister Kalpataru Das ejected from state politics, the chief minister has to look for a crafty go-getter to manage both the ruling party as well as Opposition members.
However, the party may run out of options if some of the party stalwarts, including ‘loyal’ ministers and young leaders, who the chief minister is pinning his hopes on, bite the dust, he said.