Bhubaneswar, July 1: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik today revamped the party organisation after the recent organisational poll by appointing eight senior vice presidents for the first time and entrusting specific responsibilities to nine juniors.
Former Finance Minister and veteran leader Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, who was vice president of the party, was, however, dropped.
The newly-appointed senior vice presidents were: Anang Uday Singh Deo, Prasanna Acharya, Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Prafulla Samal, Bijayshree Routray, Lal Bihari Himirika, Ananta Das and Bimbadhar Kuanr.
These senior leaders were said to be awarded with the newly created senior vice president posts in recognition of their “long-standing contribution” to the party.
Former state minister and ex-Rajya Sabha member Anang Uday Singh Deo is the Doon School mate of Naveen and loyal to the party leadership. His son Kalikesh was also the party MP from Balangir.
Singh Deo and Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya had played a pivotal role in the formation of the BJD in 1997. Both of them were members in the Biju Patnaik cabinet in 1990.
Acharya was the Finance Minister in the Naveen cabinet in the state too and had also been earlier elected to Lok Sabha twice.
Prasanna Kumar Patasani, who was a member in the Biju cabinet in 1990 and later elected to Lok Sabha from Bhubaneswar four times till he was denied re-nomination to accommodate senior IPS officer Arup Patnaik who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He was reportedly assured Rajya Sabha seat.
Similarly, Bijoyshree Routray and Prafulla Samal, two veteran leaders from Bhadrak district, had been ministers in Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik ministries. While Bijoyshree did not contest the 2019 Assembly elections, Samal was re-elected to the state Assembly defeating Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik. However, he was not given any ministerial berth.
Ananta Das, a veteran MLA from Bhograi in Balasore district, was the industries and higher education minister in Naveen’s cabinet last time, However, he was not made a minister this time.
Tribal leader Lal Bihari Himirika from Rayagada, who was a minister in Naveen Patnaik ministry last time, was defeated in the 2019 elections.
The former BJP state president and ex-higher education minister, Bimbadhar Kuanr, had joined the BJD. However, the veteran did not have any chance to be rewarded by the party, albeit this time.
Besides, nine vice presidents were entrusted with specific organisational responsibilities. Among them, Bikram Keshari Arukh and Padmanav Behera are the state ministers. While Environment Minister Arukh will be in charge of party’s environment related programmes, Transport Minister Behera will look after party’s SC welfare affairs.
The rest were those who could not be accommodated in the state cabinet. Tribal leader from Sundargarh and former minister Mangala Kisan was given the charge of tribal empowerment & minority affairs, while former MP and Khandapara MLA, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was entrusted with the responsibility of art, culture and human resources development. Incidentally, Patnaik owns a media house – Eastern Media Limited and also is an edu- entrepreneur.
Former Industries Minister and youth leader Debi Prasad Mishra has been given the charge of Odisha: Mo Parivar, a flagship party programme.
Former minister and a veteran woman leader from Ganjam district Usha Devi will look after party’s social welfare programmes, while former minister and Government Chief Whip in the state assembly, Pramila Mallik has been given the charge of women empowerment.
Veteran leader from Keonjhar district and former Rural Development Minister Badri Narayan Patra will oversee the party’s regional development programmes, while former Speaker of Odisha assembly and former Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat will be in charge of party’s Sashakta Odisha programmes.
Former youth wing chairman of the party and present Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board, Sanjay Kumar Das Burma has retained the important organisational post of General Secretary (Head Quarters).