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No representation for Orissa in Cabinet

By Giridhar Gopal and agencies
May 23, 2004 00:16 IST
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Over three crore people of Orissa, which elected 18 Members of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party-Biju Janata Dal combine from a total of 21 Lok Sabha seats, went without a representative in the Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sworn-in on Saturday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Congress-led coalition could not be blamed for it as none of the stalwarts under the leadership of former chief minister J B Patnaik could win barring Giridhar Gamang, another former chief minister, who won from Koraput constituency.

Gamang, whose single controversial vote had caused the downfall of the 13-day Vajpayee Government in 1999, had faced a tough time from his politician wife before getting the ticket from Congress to contest the Lok Sabha election.

The other Congress MP from Orissa, which elected 21 MPs to the Lok Sabha, was Chandrasekhar Sahu from Berhampur, a seat once held by former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.

Sudam Marandi of JMM, which went into the election in alliance with Congress, had wrested the Mayurbhanj seat from the BJD-BJP combine, which got the rest 18 seats.

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Giridhar Gopal and agencies