Monday, February 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Naveen elected BJD leader in Orissa

BHUBANESWAR, Feb 27 (PTI) — BJD President Naveen Patnaik, who led the BJD-BJP combine to spectacular victory in the Orissa Assembly poll, was today unanimously elected leader of the BJD Legislature Party.

Mr Patnaik’s name was proposed by party Working President Nalini Kanta Mohanty and seconded by Vice-President A.U. Singh Deo at a meeting of the newly elected members here,

Mr Patnaik, who was elected to the State Assembly from Hinjili, is the Union Minister for Mines and Minerals.

Mr Patnaik is expected to be elected leader of the combine at a joint meeting of MLAs of the BJD and the BJP in a couple of days and the new ministry likely to be sworn in a few days after that.

Immediately after the election as the BJDLP leader Mr Patnaik said the alliance would be inheriting a “bankrupt exchequer from the Congress regime with a debt burden of Rs 16,000 crore” and his government would give top priority to generation of additional resources.

“Although we will try to get maximum assistance from the Centre, it would not be sufficient,” he said.

Mr Patnaik later told newsmen that the new ministry would assume office within a few days.

BJD Secretary-General Prasanna Acharya, who announced Mr Patnaik’s unanimous election to the Press, said the joint meeting of the MLAs from the two parties would be held within a day or two to elect the BJD chief as the leader of the alliance.

Mr Acharya said Mr Patnaik would be leaving tomorrow for Delhi where he would meet Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other central leaders of the National Democratic Alliance about the formation of the new ministry.

He said the final decision on the size of the new ministry, issue of having a Deputy Chief Minister and representation from the two parties would be taken after discussions with the state and central leaders of the BJP.

Replying to a question as to whether the party would withdraw disciplinary action taken against rebel partymen during the run-up to the elections, he said: “We will take a view on this at an appropriate time”.

On a question whether the BJD-BJP regime would allow the government employees to join the RSS, Mr Acharya said “the people have given their verdict in our favour, let the government be formed first”.

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