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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik not to attend Modi swearing-in today

According to the official reason cited, all BJD MLAs are to take oath in the Odisha Assembly on Thursday in the presence of the CM, and hence he is unable to go to Delhi

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has conveyed his best wishes to Narendra Modi who will take oath as the Prime Minister for a second time at a ceremony in New Delhi on Thursday. Patnaik, however, will not attend the swearing-in today.

According to the official reason cited, all Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLAs are to take oath in the Assembly on Thursday in the presence of the CM, and hence he is unable to go to Delhi.

It may be noted that no BJP member attended the swearing-in ceremony of CM Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. The lone visible BJP face in the gathering was that of former chief minister Giridhar Gomango.

BJD president Naveen Patnaik was sworn-in as the Chief Minister for a record fifth consecutive term on Wednesday. Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal administered the oath of office to Patnaik and 20 ministers of his cabinet.

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Noted writer Geeta Mehta , sister of Naveen Patnaik, and brother Prem Patnaik were the focus of the cameras as they cheered the ministers. They have all along stayed away from their brother’s politics and hence their presence was a surprise to many.

Also in the crowd on the front row were industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla, Sanjeev Puri, Punit Dalmia, Sangeetha Reddy, CP Gurnani, R S Behera, Navin Jindal and others.

Ten of the 20 ministers are newcomers, while a few were ministers in the last four terms and have retained their posts.

Naveen’s team for the fifth term indicated a fresh start. Many regarded as ‘powerful , yet controversial’ have been dropped as they were under the scanner in the chit fund and other alleged scams.

Naba Kisore Das , Raghunandan Das, Tusharkanti Behera who had switched over from the Congress and BJP just prior to the elections have been rewarded with important portfolios like Health & Family Welfare, Women and Child Development and IT, Sports and Youth Services, respectively.

The other newcomers are -Jagannath Sarka (ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare), Dibya Shankar Mishra (Energy; Industries; Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises), Samir Ranjan Das (School & Mass Education), Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi (Tourism; Odia Language, Literature & Culture), Premananda Nayak (Skill Development & Technical Education), and Padmini Dian (Handlooms, Textiles & Handicrafts).

Veterans like Bikram Arukh, Pratap Jena, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Arun Sahu, Prafulla Mallick, Ashok Panda, Sudam Marandi, Susant Singh, Padmanab Behera, Niranjan Pujari also found place in the cabinet.

A festive mood prevailed as no one appeared to be grumbling.

While the BJP was conspicuous by its absence, MLAs and MPs from Congress were present.