Pramila Malik Steps Down
Odisha Revenue and Disaster Management Minister, Pramila Malik, resigned from the Naveen Patnaik cabinet on Thursday (September 21). The six-time MLA submitted her resignation to the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, who subsequently sent it to the Governor. This development has left CM Patnaik’s cabinet with 20 ministers, including himself.
Probable Path to the Speakership
Sources suggest that Pramila Malik may file her nomination for the post of Speaker of the Odisha Assembly. School and Mass Education Minister, Sudam Marandi, has been entrusted with additional responsibility for the Revenue and Disaster Management Department. It is noteworthy that Marandi previously served as a minister in this department for three years, from 2019 to 2022.
Historic Opportunity for Pramila Malik
The Speaker’s chair in the Odisha Assembly has been vacant since Bikram Keshari Arukha’s appointment as Finance Minister in the last cabinet reshuffle. Pramila Malik is expected to become the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly, as the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) holds 113 out of 147 seats in the House. The opposition parties, BJP and Congress, have 22 and 9 MLAs, respectively.
If elected, Pramila Malik will become the first woman to hold this post in the state. One MLA is independent, while another represents the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It is unlikely that the BJP and Congress will field any candidates for this election.
Upcoming Speaker Election
The election for the post of Assembly Speaker is scheduled for September 22 at 9:30 am, coinciding with the commencement of the monsoon session of the Assembly, which is expected to run until October 4. Nominations for the election are to be filed on September 21.
Postponement of Presidential Election
Previously, the election for the post of President was slated for September 21, but both the BJP and Congress had announced a boycott. This decision stemmed from the commencement of the agricultural festival ‘Nuakhai’ in Western Odisha on the same day. Consequently, the elections have been rescheduled for September 22.