Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 14:
Basant Panda, the new president of Odisha BJP who ascended to power today, ruled out any under the carpet dissent among the party leaders over his election.
Even though many of the top guns including Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray and Senior Leader Bijoy Mohapatra were missing on stage while Panda took over the reins of Odisha BJP, he clarified that he has spoken to each of them and has their blessings.
“All the leaders can not possible be at the same place at the same time all the times. Jual Oram has been to Australia on an official tour and other leaders have been to other places on business. However, I can assure you that all of them have spoken to me and have given me their blessings,” said Panda speaking to reporters after his unanimous elevation today.
Notably, the press had been abuzz about the two union ministers- Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram trying to have their say over the president selection.
While Panda is seen as close to Pradhan, Oram had been batting for giving a second term to KV Singhdeo. On the other hand, senior leader Pratap Sarangi was also on the race and as per sources was the preferred candidate by RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).
While Dharmendra Pradhan, whom political observers see as harbouring a Chief Ministerial ambition, flew down to Bhubaneswar today to support his alleged candidate Panda, Mohapatra and Ray flew out of town a day before. Other leaders who were in the presidential race initially including KV Singhdeo and Pratap Sarangi were seen greeting Panda on the stage today.