BHUBANESWAR: Days after resignation of two senior leaders from the BJP, differences in the party’s State unit over its chief ministerial candidate for the 2019 elections have come to the fore with senior party leader Pratap Sarangi asserting that the BJP’s Central leadership is yet to take a call on the matter.
Sarangi’s assertion was contrary to the recent statement of Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram projecting his Cabinet colleague Dharmendra Pradhan as the chief minister candidate of the party in the ensuing election to the State Assembly.
Responding to media queries on the issue, the former MLA from Nilagiri, who is considered to be close to RSS, said he is not aware of it as the party has not taken any decision. “Such important decisions are taken by the BJP Parliamentary Board, the highest decision making body of the party. To my knowledge, no decision on BJP chief ministerial candidate for the State has been taken by the party leadership,” he said.
To Oram’s statement, Sarangi said, “It may be his personal view.”
Sarangi, who is nursing a grudge against a powerful section of the party for blocking his chance of becoming the president of the party’s State unit, said there is no dearth of leaders in the BJP for the post of chief minister unlike the ruling BJD where everything revolves around one person.Sarangi’s refusal to endorse Oram’s view is seen in political circle that there is no unanimity among the BJP leaders of the State on the leadership issue of Union Petroleum Minister.
Senior leaders Bijay Mohapatra and Dilip Ray, who quit the BJP two days after Oram’s statement, is a pointer to the fact that the announcement of Pradhan’s name as the chief ministerial candidate was the last straw for them.
Oram created a flutter in the political circle by announcing Pradhan’s name as the party’s CM candidate.
“Dharmendra Pradhan will be the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP in Odisha. We will fight the forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections under his leadership. Our aim is to unseat Naveen Patnaik from power and put an end to the rule of the non-Odia bureaucrats in the State,” Oram said.