Paving way for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to reshuffle his cabinet, nine Odisha government ministers, along with the speaker Niranjan Pujari, on Saturday tendered their resignation from their respective posts, reported news agency ANI. Sanjay Dasburma, Pranab Prakash Das, Arun Sahoo, Pradeep Panigrahi, Pushpendra Singhdeo, Lal Bihari Himirika, Sudam Marndi, Jogendra Behera and Debi Prasad Mishra have put in their papers as ministers in state government, IANS reported. Following the resignations, Finance Minister Pradip Amat is likely to put on his papers on later today. The report said that Amat might take over as Speaker from Niranjan Pujari.
According to PTI, Pujari’s resignation letter, submitted to Deputy Speaker Sananda Marandi, stated, “I hereby tender my resignation from the office of the Speaker, Odisha Legislative Assembly with effect from today”. When asked about the resignation, Pujari said that he would be focusing more on his own constituency.
Speaking to reporters, he said, “I have decided to spend more time with the people of my constituency and therefore resigned from the post of speaker.” Pujari did not answer if he had been under any pressure to take the action. After reshuffle, Pujari is very likely to take up the position of a minister in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet, PTI reported. Earlier, speaking to reporters about the rumours, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “You will know it (ministry reshuffle) very soon.
Be patient and wait.” He also said a revamp in government would help the ruling Biju Janata Dal serve the people better. Patnaik may go in for a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday morning before leaving for New Delhi to attend the meeting on the Maoist threat convened by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on May 8.