News Brief

All You Should Know About Dharmendra Pradhan, Who Could Be Odisha's Next Chief Minister

Swarajya Staff

Jun 04, 2024, 02:03 PM | Updated 02:02 PM IST

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik,V Karthikeyan Pandian and Dharmendra Pradhan.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik,V Karthikeyan Pandian and Dharmendra Pradhan.

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems poised to stake its claim to form the next government in Odisha, it is inflicting serious reverses on the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD)'s electoral tally.

There's strong speculation about who will be the next chief minister of the state. This comes after the 25-year-long tenure of Naveen Patnaik.

According to many analysts, Dharmendra Pradhan, a BJP Member of Parliament (MP) since 2004 and the Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in the current Narendra Modi cabinet since 2021 has emerged as the front runner for the CM post in case a BJP-led government comes to power.

Who is Dharmendra Pradhan?

Pradhan was born on 26 June 1969 in Talcher, Odisha. He holds a Master of Arts degree in political science from Sambalpur University.

He began his political career in 1997 when he was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly and served as a minister in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government from 1997 to 2000.

In 2004, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Puri constituency on a BJP ticket. He has been re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

In the BJP government, Pradhan has held a number of ministerial positions. He was the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas from 2014 to 2019. In 2019, he was appointed as the Minister of Steel. In 2021, he was appointed as the Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Pradhan is known for his stringent and consistent criticism of Naveen Patnaik-led regime and his strong advocacy of Odiya Asmita in face of rumours that Patnaik was under sway of former bureaucrat turned BJD politician V K Pandian.

As one of the most prominent faces of BJP from Odisha, Pradhan holds a serious chance of becoming chief minister if BJP manages to hold up the majority mark.

The Odisha assembly has 147 seats of which BJP is currently leading in 81 seats, the BJD in 48 seats and the Congress in 12 seats.


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