BHUBANESWAR, May 15 (PTI): Newly elected BJD legislator from Jharsuguda, Dipali Das, daughter of slain minister Naba Kishore Das, on Monday, took oath at the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
Deputy speaker Rajnikant Singh administered the oath of office to her at his chamber in the presence of two women ministers, Pramila Mallik and Rita Sahu.
Her mother and brother accompanied her to the Assembly. Earlier, she met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas, the CM’s residence here, and sought his blessings.
BJD candidate Dipali Das defeated her nearest BJP rival Tankadhar Tripathy by a margin of 48,721 votes in the recently held by-polls.
She had secured 1, 07,198 votes, while Tankadhar got 58,477 votes.
The by-poll was necessitated, after the murder of the sitting MLA and Das’s father, Naba Kishore Das, on January 29, this year.
Naba Kishore Das was the health minister in the state.
Amid speculation whether Dipali Das will be a part of the council of ministers, revenue minister Pramila Mallik said chief minister Naveen Patnaik would decide regarding the ministry reshuffle as it is his prerogative.
Speculations are also on about Dipali and Kabisuryanagar MLA Latika Pradhan might get minister posts in the reshuffle.
Currently Mallik is holding additional charge of School and Mass Education and Labour departments after two ministers, Samir Ranjan Dash and Srikant Sahu, resigned three days ago.
There are three vacancies in the Naveen Patnaik cabinet. While one post fell vacant after the assassination of health minister Naba Kishore Das on January 27, two ministers of state – Samir Dash (School and Mass Education) and Srikant Sahu (Labour) – resigned from their posts on Friday.
Bikram Keshari Arukha has also resigned as the Speaker of the Assembly due to personal reasons. Sahu and Dash maintained that they resigned to work for the party organisation.
Sources, however, said Dash and Sahu had been asked to quit since they got involved in controversies. The resignations triggered speculation of a cabinet reshuffle, while it was said that the CM might take a call on it after the declaration of the Jharsuguda by-election results on May 13.
The Speaker’s resignation also fuelled speculations that he could be inducted into the cabinet.
The reshuffle might take place after Governor Ganeshi Lal returns from his native place, Haryana, on May 22, 2023.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had effected a reshuffle in June 2022, when all 20 ministers had been told to resign.