BJP terms Odisha Cabinet rejig ‘old wine in new bottle’ to tackle BJD infighting

BJP terms Odisha Cabinet rejig ‘old wine in new bottle’ to tackle BJD infighting

Bhubaneswar: Soon after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik undertook a minor cabinet rejig on Monday, opposition BJP raised a number of questions over the reshuffle carried out ahead of the 2024 elections.

Induction of senior BJD leaders Bikram Keshari Arukha, Sudam Marndi and Sarada Nayak into the cabinet was ridiculed by BJP state general secretary Gopal Mohapatra. “There is nothing great about the whole exercise. The cabinet reshuffle is like old wine in a new bottle,” he told reporters in Bhubaneswar.

Stating that the three leaders were believed to have been given ministerial berths for their seniority and efficiency, Mohapatra sought to know whether they were not efficient earlier.

Noting that these three leaders had also been Ministers earlier, the BJP leader also wondered as to why they had been removed from the Ministry. “The entire episode is nothing but looks like old wine in a new bottle,” he said.

The BJP leader claimed that the cabinet reshufflle was undertaken and the three leaders sworn in as new new Ministers in order to deal with infighting within the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Many leaders in BJD are unhappy and resentment is brewing in the ruling party, he claimed, adding that the cabinet rejig was part of a desperate bid to end infighting.

Mohapatra furthyer claimed that Samir Ranjan Dash was dropped form the cabinet apparently over BJD Zilla Parishad member from Nimapada Dharmendra Sahoo’s death.

Similarly, Srikanta Sahu was removed as Minister as he was embroiled in a case involving alleged sexual exploitation of a woman BJD leader, he said, adding that by removing the two leaders from the Ministry, the government has admitted that they were guilty. However, it is surprising that the government is not taking any action against the two leaders, the BJP leader said.

Meanwhile, Naveen has allocated portfolios to the three newly inducted cabinet Ministers. While six-time MLA Arukha has been given the Finance portfolio, Marndi got School and Mass Education and Nayak Labour department.

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