Odisha BJP likely to get new chief on ThursdayUpdated: Jan 16, 2020 10:22 IST
After four years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Odisha is likely to see a new chief on Thursday with senior party officials working overtime to get a consensus candidate.
With BJP gaining the status of principal Opposition party in the state in the 2019 assembly poll, the post of state BJP chief has assumed significance. The post of the Odisha BJP president had fallen vacant after incumbent chief Basanta Panda was elected MP from Kalahandi during 2019 general elections.
Panda, 58, had taken over as party chief in January 2016.
Though former Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram, deputy leader of Opposition Bishnu Sethi, former party MLA KV Singhdeo and state general secretary Prithwiraj Harichandan are in the race, party sources said state vice president Sameer Mohanty is tipped to be the new president.
Mohanty, 56, was a senior functionary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of RSS before he joined BJP. In 2009, he had unsuccessfully contested from Bhubaneswar-Ekamra assembly constituency on BJP ticket.
BJP leader and assistant returning officer Sudipta Roy said that filing of nomination papers will begin at 3 pm on Thursday. The verification of the nomination papers will be done by 5.30 pm and candidates can withdraw nomination papers by 7.30 pm. “It has been decided to elect the state party president with consensus. But if there is more than one candidate for the post, the election will be held on January 17 in presence of the two central party observers, Narendra Singh Tomar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy,” he said.
The party will also select 21 national council members from 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state who will cast their votes in the election of national president.