Odisha Revenue and Disaster Management minister Pramila Mallik on Thursday resigned from the Naveen Patnaik cabinet, sources said.
Mallik, a six-time MLA handed over her resignation letter to the chief minister which was subsequently forwarded to the governor for approval, they said.
With Mallik’s resignation, the Naveen Patnaik ministry now has 20 ministers including the chief minister.
The sources said Mallik is likely to file her nomination for the post of Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, School and Mass Education Minister Sudam Marndi was given additional charge of the Revenue and Disaster Management department earlier held by Mallik. Marndi was given the crucial Revenue and Disaster Management department as he had worked in the same department as a minister for three years from 2019 to 2022. The post of Odisha Assembly Speaker fell vacant after Bikram Keshari Arukha was appointed as Finance Minister in the last Cabinet reshuffle.
Mallik is all set to become the next Speaker of the OLA as the ruling BJD has 113 MLAs in 147 member House. The opposition BJP has 22 lawmakers, and 9 MLAs belong to Congress. Both Independent and CPI(M) have one member each in the OLA.
Sources said the opposition BJP and Congress may not field any candidate in the Speaker’s election.
The election to the Speaker post will be held at 9:30 am on September 22, coinciding with the beginning of the monsoon session of the Assembly. The session is scheduled to continue till October 4. The date for filing nominations for the post has been scheduled for September 21.
Earlier, the election of the Speaker was scheduled to be held on September 21 and the filing of nomination on September 18. After the opposition BJP and Congress announced to boycott the election as it coincided with ‘Nuakhai’, the mass agrarian festival of western Odisha, it was shifted to September 22 and the filing of nominations to September 21.