Bhubaneshwar: Naveen Patnaik, who led his Biju Janata Dal to a landslide victory in the Assembly elections, took oath as the chief minister of Odisha for a record fifth consecutive term on Wednesday.
Patnaik was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Ganeshi Lal at the Idco Exhibition Ground here.
Twenty newly elected BJD MLAs also took oath as ministers, including 11 of Cabinet rank, at the swearing-in ceremony attended by a host of dignitaries.
President Ramnath Kovind spoke to Naveen Patnaik and congratulated him on taking oath as the chief minister.
“The President conveyed his good wishes to him and his entire team for the development of the state @Naveen_Odisha, the President’s Secretariat tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Patnaik shortly after he took oath.
“Congratulations to Shri Naveen Patnaik Ji on taking oath as Odisha’s Chief Minister. Best wishes to him and his team in fulfilling the peoples aspirations. I assure complete cooperation from the Centre in working for Odisha’s progress,” Modi tweeted.
Soon after taking oath, Patnaik tweeted: “It’s nostalgic and personal journey for me to reminiscence the past 19 years. Today while I take oath of office for the 5th term, I humbly accept the responsibility that comes with the faith my 4.5 crore family members have reposed on me, yet again.”
Union Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan said he was hopeful the state government would “proactively support the Centre in uplifting the lives of Odia people.”
The BJD, which won 112 seats in the 147-member Assembly in the recently concluded elections, held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, has been in power in Odisha since 2000.
It is for the first time that the 72-year-old Patnaik, who won from his home turf Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in western Odisha, has taken oath in an open public ground. In 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014, the swearing-in ceremony was held at the Raj Bhavan.
Apart from chief minister’s elder brother and businessman Prem Patnaik, sister and noted writer Gita Mehta, around 7,000 dignitaries including captains of industries, writers, artists, musicians and intellectuals attended the event.
A large number of BJD supporters and women grassroots leaders as also MPs and MLAs attended the function.
The 11 MLAs who took oath as cabinet ministers are Prafulla Mallick, Bikram Keshari Arukh, Niranjan Pujari, Tukuni Sahu, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Arun Sahoo, Sudam Marndi, Pratap Jena, Padmanabh Behera, Sushant Singh and Naba Kishor Das.
The nine ministers of state are Padmini Dian, Ashok Chandra Panda, Sameer Ranjan Dash, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Dibya Shankar Mishra, Premananda Nayak, Raghunandan Das, Tusharkanti Behera and Jagannath Saraka.
The new ministry, which includes two women, is a blend of experienced and fresh faces.
The 10 new faces in the Patnaik ministry are Premananda Nayak, Tukuni Sahu, Sameer Ranjan Das, Naba Kishore Das, Padmini Dian, Raghunandan Das, Dibyashankar Mishra, Jagannath Saraka, Jyotiprakash Panigarhi and Tusharkanti Behera.
Bikram Arukh, Pratap Jena, Niranjan Pujari, Prafulla Mallick, Ashok Chandra Panda and Sushant Singh are among the legislators who retained their ministerial berths.
The council of ministers has four Scheduled Tribe (ST) members – Sudam Marndi, Pramamand Nayak, Padmini Dian, Jagannath Saraka.
Similarly, two new ministers belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) – Padmanabh Behera and Tushar Kanti Behera.
At least 13 of the 30 districts remained unrepresented in Patnaik’s new ministry. They are Angul, Bhadrak, Boudh, Deogarh, Jajpur, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.
At least nine members, including two women, of the previous ministry have been dropped by Patnaik.
The members who have been dropped are Usha Devi, Snehangini Churia (both women), Badri Narayan Patra, S N Patro, Prafulla Samal, Sashi Bhushan Behera, Nrushigha Sahu, Anant Das and Chandra Sarathi Behera. S N Patro, however, is likely to be made the Assembly Speaker.
While former Minister Maheshwar Mohanty lost the polls in Puri, Bijayshree Routray did not contest.
The BJD won 112 Assembly seats while the BJP 23 and the Congress nine in the just concluded polls. An Independent and the CPI (M) secured one seat each.
While Odisha has 147 Assembly seats, polling in Patkura constituency was postponed twice following the death of a candidate and then due to cyclone Fani.