Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader Surya Narayan Patro got elected as speaker of the Odisha state assembly unopposed on Saturday even as the BJP legislators remained absent during the voting.

All the 23 MLAs of the BJP remained absent at the time of the speaker’s election.

“It is unfortunate is that the BJP legislators boycotted the elections of the speaker”, said the parliamentary affairs minister Bikram Keshri Arukh. He described that this is an undemocratic act on the part of the BJP law makers.

The BJP senior MLA, Jay Narayan Mishra, however, asserted that the BJP’s legislative party has not boycotted the election. He said he reached the assembly late and by the time the election was over.

The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, proposed the name of Patro which was supported by the parliamentary affairs minister Bikram Keshri Arukh. Later, the Pro tem Speaker Amar Prasad Satpathy invited Patro to take the charge as the speaker.

“I congratulate Surjya Narayan Patro for being elected as the speaker of this August House,” Patnaik told the media after Patro assumed the charge.

Yesterday, the new government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recommended Patro’s name for the post. As the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has the majority in the House, the senior leader was elected uncontested.