By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 19, 2024: BJD president and former Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday was unanimously elected as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP).

The party has elected Prasanna Acharya as the Deputy Leader of the BJD in the legislature, Pramila Mallik as the Chief Whip and Pratap Keshari Deb as the Deputy Chief Whip of the party.

Speaking to reporters Patnaik said, “We just had a meeting of the BJD MLAs who have been elected to the recent elections. I congratulated and thanked them. They have elected me as the LoP and the leader of the Biju Legislative Party”.

Patnaik said the decision was taken at the BJD’s legislature party meeting.

Senior MLA Prasanna Acharya was named the deputy leader of the opposition, while former speaker Pramila Mallik would be the chief whip of the opposition in the House.

Patnaik named Pratap Keshari Deb as the deputy chief whip of the opposition in the assembly.

The BJD, which ruled the state for 24 years, lost power to the BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections. The narrative of Patnaik’s defeat was twofold. Not only had he lost his chief minister’s chair, held firmly since 2000, but he also faced an unexpected defeat in Kantabanji, which he contested alongside his traditional Hinjili assembly seat.

Patnaik took oath as member of the 17th Odisha Legislative Assembly in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

In the recently concluded Assembly elections, the BJP secured a majority by winning 78 Assembly seats followed by BJD (51), Congress (14), CPIM (1) and Independents (3). In the 147-member Odisha Assembly, as many as 82 are first-time MLAs.

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