Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 23:
While the new Speaker of the Odisha Assembly is to be elected on Monday, there is little clarity on who the next occupant would be. All kinds of speculations are doing the rounds as the BJD supremo has not given any indication about his preference yet.
The front runners for the coveted post are former ministers Mangala Kisan, Niranjan Pujari, Bed Prakash Agarwal, Pramila Mallik, and the Parjanga MLA Nrusingha Charan Sahu.
Pujari and Agarwal are former ministers in the Naveen Patnaik government and have the experience and expertise to manage the House. Both of them have also not been accommodated in the new cabinet.
However, there is a strong possibility that veteran tribal leader and five-time MLA from Rajgangpur Mangala Kisan would be favoured for the post.
Kisan’s home district Sundargarh has gone unrepresented in the ministry and besides he can be a good counterweight to the BJP MP Jual Oram who is expected to get a berth in the Modi cabinet in Delhi.
Former minister and president of the BJD women’s wing Pramila Mallick, who has been kept out of the new ministry, is also another contender. However, vigilance case in the mid-day meal dal scam is still pending against her. She had quit as minister Women & Child Development in January 2011 following the scam.
However if Ms Mallick is finally chosen on grounds of gender representation , she will be first woman speaker in the Odisha Assembly.