Bhubaneswar: Even though the first session of the 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly will commence from June 25, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in a dilemma to elect its leader, who will become the Leader of the Opposition in the new Assembly.
The saffron party is facing a tough task to announce name of Sambalpur MLA Jayanarayan Mishra or any other leader to hold the office of the Leader of Opposition due to rat-race within the party, sources said.
In the just concluded Assembly elections, the BJP had managed to win 23 seats only against its highly ambitious Mission 120 plus. Only solace for the saffron outfit from suffering from a credit-claim syndrome is that it has been eligible to be declared as the main opposition party in the House replacing the Congress, which has got just nine seats. However, most of the BJP leaders who won the elections are new to the currently Assembly.
Notably, two of the 23 BJP legislators are former ministers. One of them is Sambalpur MLA Jayanarayan Mishra, who was a transport minister and also the Deputy Chief Whip of the BJD-BJP coalition in 2000. Pradipta Kumar Naik, who won the recent elections from Bhawanipatna seat, was the labour minister in the same coalition government.
In terms of seniority and experience, Mishra is said to be the front runner for the post of leader of opposition among the newly-elected BJP MLAs, but the party is failing to garner support among the members to elect him for the key post, sources said.
Apart from its legislature party leader, the BJP is also facing problems to announce its chip whip and other important posts in the Assembly. The task should be completed before the commencement of the Assembly.
As per reliable sources, the saffron party is facing a daunting task in finalizing the leader of opposition. Though Mishra’s name is doing the round the corner, a faction of party is strongly opposing his election to the top post. The problem is more complex as one of the prominent leaders from Western Odisha is believed to have joined the faction to oppose the election of Mishra for the top post.
Notably, in the outgoing Odisha Assembly, the BJP had 10 legislators and KV Singhdeo was elected as the BJP Legislature Party leader. Singhdeo has been defeated this time.
The opposition plays a pivotal role in a democratic setup of governance with the greater responsibility to make the government accountable and responsible before the people.
As the BJP has emerged as the second largest party in the 16th Odisha Assembly, all eyes are now on the saffron party for its activities as main opposition party in the House. However, the party’s credibility as opposition party is gradually weakening due to the delay in electing a leader of opposition because of the internal bickering within the party.