Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 11:
The newly elected MLAs of the Congress in Odisha are meeting at room no.54 of the Odisha Assembly to elect their legislative party leader, who would also become the Leader of Opposition (LOP).
The party’s AICC in-charge for Odisha BK Hariprasad and central observer Ajay Maken, who have already arrived here, and PCC president Jaydev Jena are attending the meeting.
While senior party leader and MLA from Bolangir Narasingh Mishra is ahead in the race for the CLP leader post, Salepur MLA Prakash Chandra Behera on Tuesday told the media that there is a need for a younger leader to lead the party in the Assembly. This is being seen as an endorsement of Jagatsinghpur MLA Chiranjeeb Biswal.
On the other hand, Jeypore MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati has openly plumped for Mishra in view of his long legislative experience.
The divergent views within the party could open up the possibility of a battle of attrition between the two, if not an outright election. PCC president JayadevJena, it may be noted, has already said that the new CLP leader would be a ‘unanimous’ choice.
Central observerAjayMaken told newsmen at the airport that choosing the CLP leader was the prerogative of the electedMLAs and there was no directive from the high command to superimpose somebody as the leader.