Under Eyes Of Central Ministers, Odisha BJP Meets To Pick Chief Minister


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Under Eyes Of Central Ministers, Odisha BJP Meets To Pick Chief MinisterThe BJP's legislature party in Odisha is meeting to select the state's next Chief Minister after the party won a massive victory in the recently concluded Assembly election. Picking the next Chief Minister could be tricky for the BJP, which is forming government in the coastal state for the first time.

The party has sent Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Bhupendra Yadav as the observers and two key leaders -- Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Jual Oram. All are at the state BJP headquarters in Bhubaneshwar, where the meeting is being held.

Sources have indicated that the meet will also pick two Deputy Chief Ministers.

For the top post, the front-runners are KV Singh Deo, Manmohan Samal and Suresh Pujari.

Mr Deo, a six-time MLA and an erstwhile royal from Patna (princely state), Bolangir, was a minister in the Naveen Patnaik government for nine years till 2009, when the BJP and the Biju Janata Dal were in alliance. His stature as a senior leader and his contribution to the party's growth in Odisha make him a viable candidate for the top job.

State BJP chief Manmohan Samal is credited with steering the party to power in Odisha.

Senior BJP leader and newly elected MLA Suresh Pujari had gone to New Delhi, triggering speculation that he may be a contender for the top post.