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With Pradhan, Jual Oram in Union ministry, Odisha CM race boils down to Samal, Pujari among key BJP faces

A week after the BJP stormed to power in Odisha on its own for the first time by winning 78 out of 147 seats, its state legislature unit is set to hold a meeting Tuesday to elect its leader, who will be sworn in as the Chief Minister the next day.

The party leadership is sending defence minister Rajnath Singh and Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav as its observers to the Odisha capital for this crucial BJP Legislature Party meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top BJP leaders and the party Chief Ministers will attend the swearing-in event of the party’s first CM and his ministers to be held at the Janta Maidan in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

PM Modi is scheduled to hold a 1.5 km-long roadshow before reaching the swearing-in venue in order to thank the people for giving the first full majority to the BJP in the state.

The BJP brought to an end the five-term reign of the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, which managed to win only 51 seats. In the simultaneous polls, the BJP also bagged 20 Lok Sabha seats out of 21 in the state.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys are continuing in the BJP camp over the selection of the CM as well as the composition of the new government.

While senior party leaders like Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram were considered to be the key names for the CM’s position earlier, they have now been inducted into the Modi-led NDA government 3.0. While Pradhan has been given the education portfolio again, Oram has been allocated the charge of the tribal affairs ministry.

State BJP president Manmohan Samal is considered one of the leading frontrunners for the CM’s post, even though he lost his own election from the Chandabali Assembly seat with a narrow margin of 1916 votes.

On the question of the party’s CM choice, Samal

Read more on indianexpress.com