The firebrand leader from western Odisha who is also the BJP legislature party leader in the State Assembly was formally declared elected to the top post as no one else filed nomination for it.

Stating that the 54-year-old legislator was the sole candidate for the post, returning officer Rajkishore Das made a formal announcement about Panda's election as the new party president for Odisha.

With Panda emerging as the sole candidate, there is no need for holding election for the post now, he said. Panda, who has been a Sangh Parivar member since long, succeeds Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo.

As per the notification for filing of nominations for the post issued by the party yesterday, the filing of papers was held between 9.30 am and 10.30 am. Panda, who represents Nuapada constituency in the State Assembly, had filed three sets of papers signed by 10 proposers.

"We will work together to put an end to the dark chapter of BJD's misrule in the state. Congress will also be countered effectively," said Panda, who was congratulated by senior party leaders after being elected to the top post.

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