CM Naveen Patnaik to chair cabinet reshuffle tomorrow

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Amid talks of a ministry reshuffle, Odisha Assembly speaker Niranjan Pujari on Friday resigned from his position giving rise to speculation that several ministers may resign apparently to pave the way for the reshuffle.

Finance Minister Pradip Amat, Law Minister Arun Sahoo, Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo, Sports Minister Sudam Marndi and ST & SC Development Minister Lal Bihar were among those who resigned.

The chief minister thanked the ministers who he said resigned voluntarily to work for the party.

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik addressing the media after Panchayat representative review meeting at party office in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

It is understood that Mr Pujari is likely to be inducted in the council of ministers in the proposed reshuffle of the ministry expected in the next couple of days.

The revamp would help the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) serve the people better, he said.

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To counter the resurgence of BJP, yesterday Naveen had named many of these ministers as observers of 11 districts in the state to further strengthen its base at grassroots level.

Asked the reason for his sudden resignation, Mr Pujari told newsmen, "I have chose to spend more time with the people of my constituency and therefore resigned from the post of speaker". Others to be inducted in the ministry include old hands like Surya Narayan Patro and Maheswar Mohanty. He is likely to get a ministerial berth in the cabinet.

The chief minister also brought back former minister and Mahanga MLA Pratap Jena into his team.

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