In a major revamp, Odisha cabinet got 12 new ministers on Sunday morning. Out of the twelve ministers who were sworn in, 10 are new entrants, reported news agency PTI. The step was taken by Odisha chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik to counter a fast-rising BJP in the state. He effected the biggest-ever reshuffle in his two-decade-long political career on Saturday and got 10 out of his 20 cabinet ministers to resign, reported the agency.
Among the new faces, S N Patro, Niranjan Pujari, Pratap Jena, Maheswar Mohanty, Sashi Bhusan Behera and Prafulla Samal are cabinet ministers while Nrushingha Sahu, Anant Das, Chandra Sarathi Behera and Sushant Singh are ministers of state (MoS). Sushant Singh, Nrushingha Sahu, Anant Das and Chandra Sarathi Behera and Sashi Bhusan Behera are first time ministers, reported PTI. “Six new cabinet ministers and four MoS were sworn in today. Besides, two MoS were elevated to the rank of cabinet ministers,” Patnaik told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.
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Those who quit are Finance Minister Pradip Amat; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Jogendra Behera; Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma; Panchayati Raj and Law Minister Arun Sahoo; Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi; School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra; Housing and Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo; Sports Minister Sudam Marndi; Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das; and ST and SC Development Minister Lal Bihari Himirika, reported ANI.
“I am grateful to a number of ministers who have resigned voluntarily to work for the party. All of us in the party are very grateful to them,” Chief Minister Patnaik said on the sidelines of his meeting with elected members of various Panchayati raj institutions of Kendrapara and Malkangiri.
Out of the 853 Zilla Parishad seats that went to the polls in February and March this year, the BJD won 474 seats, down 178 from 2012. On the other hand, the BJP won 297 seats, a huge increase of 261 over the last term and the Congress finished a poor third with 60, down by half, said an Indian Express report.