Naveen Patnaik’s Cabinet comprises 20 Ministers, including 10 new faces and two women.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Odisha for the fifth consecutive term in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
As many as 20 other members of the new Council of Ministers headed by Mr. Patnaik were also sworn in at the ceremony held at the Exhibition Ground of the city. The Council of Ministers has 10 new faces, including two women.
Mr. Patnaik and his ministerial colleagues were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ganeshi Lal. A large number of dignitaries attended the ceremony.
“It’s a nostalgic and personal journey for me to reminiscence the past 19 years. Today while I take oath of office for the fifth term, I humbly accept the responsibility that comes with the faith my 4.5 crore family members have reposed on me, yet again,” tweeted Mr. Patnaik soon after taking oath for a record fifth time. He has been terming people of Odisha as his family members since long.
Mr. Patnaik’s siblings — eminent writer Gita Mehta and industrialist Prem Patnaik — were present on the occasion. Hundreds of women self-help group members from different parts of the State also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr. Patnaik on taking oath as Chief Minister. “I assure complete cooperation from the Centre in working for Odisha’s progress,” said Mr. Modi in a tweet.
Those who took oath as Cabinet Ministers were Ranendra Pratap Swain, Bikram Keshari Arukha, Prafulla Mallick, Padmanabha Behera, Pratap Jena, Niranjan Pujari, Arun Kumar Sahoo, Sudam Marandi, Sushant Singh, Naba Kishore Das and Tukuni Sahu. Mr. Marandi, a tribal leader from Mayurbhanj, took oath in Santhali language.
Those who took oath as Ministers of State were Ashok Chandra Panda, Samir Ranjan Dash, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Dibya Shankar Mishra, Premananda Nayak, Raghunandan Das, Padmini Dian, Tusharkanti Behera and Jagannath Saraka.
The portfolios were to be allocated by Mr. Patnaik later in the day.
Mr. Patnaik was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the first time on March 5, 2000 when the BJD came to power with the Bharatiya Janata Party as its alliance partner.
Mr. Patnaik continued his second term from 2004 to 2009 when the BJD snapped its ties with the BJP and fought the polls by sharing seats with Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Nationalist Congress Party.
Mr. Patnaik, who maintained equidistance from Congress and BJP, contested and won the elections in 2009 without an alliance. The BJD had registered an emphatic victory in 2009 by securing 117 seats in the 147-member State Assembly.
The BJD also fought the elections this time without any alliance partner and won 112 of the 146 Assembly seats for which elections were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. Polling has been adjourned in the Patkura seat due to the death of the BJD nominee.
This is for the first time the BJD government headed by Mr. Patnaik will have the BJP as the main opposition in the State. The BJP has bagged 23 seats, and the Congress has won nine seats.
Mr. Patnaik has won from two Assembly seats – Hinjili under Aska Lok Sabha seat in south Odisha Bijepur under Bargarh Lok Sabha seat in western Odisha. Mr. Patnaik has not yet decided which of the two seats he would quit.
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