Odisha: 5-Term CM Naveen Patnaik Set To Take On New Role As Leader Of Opposition

Bhubaneswar, Jun 19 (PTI) BJD president Naveen Patnaik, the five-term chief minister of Odisha, will be the leader of the opposition in the new Odisha assembly after his party lost power to the BJP.

Speaking to reporters, Patnaik said the decision was taken at the BJD’s legislature party meeting held on Wednesday.

“We had a meeting of the MLAs of the BJD. I congratulated and thanked them. They have elected me as the leader of the opposition and leader of the BJD legislature party,” he said.

At the meeting, different matters, including recent elections, were discussed, he added.

Later, Patnaik told reporters, “My party and I will continue working hard for the people of Odisha.” Rairakhol MLA Prasanna Acharya, a former state minister, was named the deputy leader of the opposition, while former speaker Pramila Mallik, the MLA of Binjharpur, would be the chief whip of the opposition in the House.

Patnaik named former minister Pratap Keshari Deb, the MLA of Aul, as the deputy chief whip of the opposition in the assembly.

Acharya said, “We are now the strongest opposition in the history of Odisha. For the last 24 years, we served the people of Odisha. Every month, every year, every day and every hour, we spent on the development of Odisha and the progress of the people. As opposition also, we will work in that direction.” Mallik said the BJD would fight for the interests of farmers, youths and women in the assembly.

The BJD, which ruled the state for 24 years, lost power to the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections.

While the BJP formed the government by securing 78 seats in the 147-member Odisha assembly, the BJD secured 51 seats. Congress bagged 14 seats, CPI(M) got one, and three Independent candidates also won.

Patnaik, who was the longest-serving chief minister of Odisha, will lead the opposition for the first time. He became the CM in 2000 and led a coalition government with the BJP till 2009. After the alliance tumbled, Patnaik single-handedly led the BJD to victory in three more assembly elections, held in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Before becoming the CM, he was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre. 

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)