Odisha’s Speaker Niranjan Pujari on Friday submitted his resignation from the post. His resignation has come amidst talks of a reshuffle of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal cabinet. Pujari’s resignation only goes on to give more air to the rumours of a major reshuffle. It was also reported by the New Indian Express that many other ministers might also follow suit. Following the threat of the Bharatiya Janata Party slowly establishing a base in Odisha, the Naveen Patnaik government has asked its workers to concentrate on the organisational works of the party before the 2019 state assembly elections.
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 reason for his unprecedented resignation, Pujari said that he would be focussing more on his own constituency. Speaking to reporters, “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.
According to PTI, Pujari is very likely to take up the position of a minister in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet following the much-talked about reshuffle of the ministry, expected over the weekends. According to the reports, the Parliamentary Affairs department of the BJD has already spoken to the Raj Bhavan regarding the swearing in ceremony. Earlier, speaking to reporters about the rumours, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had said, “You will know it (ministry reshuffle) very soon. Be patient and wait.”