Bhubaneswar: Naveen Patnaik was, on Wednesday, sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha for the fifth time. He was administered the oath by Governor Ganeshi Lal at the Exhibition Ground. (Also read: Naveen Patnaik Thanks PM Modi For Helping Cyclone-hit State)
PM Narendra Modi, who had been invited but couldn’t make it to the event, sent his congratulations. He said, “Congratulations to Naveen Patnaik ji on taking oath as Odisha’s Chief Minister. Best wishes to him and his team in fulfilling the people’s aspirations. I assure complete cooperation from the Centre in working for Odisha’s progress.”
On Patnaik’s recommendation, the Governor had appointed 11 Cabinet ministers and nine Ministers of State, a communication from the Raj Bhavan said.
Ten people debut in Patnaik’s new ministry. Among those are Telkoi MLA Premaanda Nayak, Titlagarh MLA Tukuni Sahu (Woman), Nimapara MLA Sameer Das, Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das, Kotpad MLA Padmini Dian (Woman), Balikuda-Erasama MLA Raghunandan Das and Junagarh MLA Dibyashankar Mishra.
Meanwhile, among those who retained their ministerial berth are Bikram Arukh, Pratap Jena, Niranjan Pujari, Prafulla Mallick, Ashok Panda and Sushant Singh.
A day before taking oath, BJD president Patnaik had visited Shree Jagannath temple in Puri and sought blessings of the Lord. “I prayed to Lord Jagannath for the people of Odisha before I take oath as chief minister tomorrow in Bhubaneswar,” he told reporters later.
The Biju Janata Dal, which secured 112 seats in the 147-member Odisha Assembly in the recently concluded elections has been in power in the state since 2000. Yet this is the first time that Patnaik took oath at a grand event.
Apart from the chief minister’s elder sister and noted writer Gita Mehta, around 7,000 dignitaries, including captains of industries and some Padma awardees attended the swearing-in ceremony.
The ruling BJD has also invited women grassroots leaders, whom Patnaik considered as the real “double engine” for growth of the state.
The BJP has bagged 23 and the Congress nine assembly seats in the state. Independent and CPI(M) have secured one seat each.