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Time to make right choice
Parties hold meetings to select candidates

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 13: All leading political parties have begun groundwork for selecting candidates for the January 8 civic polls in the city.

While the BJD has so far held two meetings of its selection committee, the Congress began it yesterday.

The BJP selection committee has already met thrice, while the Odisha Jan Morcha has also held its preliminary meeting.

Though the BJD has designated parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das as the chairman of its four-member committee, party hopefuls are also coming to the residences and offices of the three MLAs in the city and the former mayor with applications.

The three MLAs of Ekamra, Bhubaneswar Central and Bhubaneswar North and the former mayor will submit the applications to the selection committee.

“We will see three major elements in a candidature — loyalty to the party, clean background and chances of winning. All the applications will be judged by the committee and finally approved by party president Naveen Patnaik,” said Das.

Sources said with the BJD winning civic polls in large parts of the state, nearly 1,000 applications have already been received for Bhubaneswar. “We are also receiving requests from popular candidates from other parties for tickets,” said a BJD leader.

President of the Pradesh Congress Committee Jayadev Jena said: “We are going to finalise the list for candidates by December 16. The core committee, which comprises 10 leaders, will take a final call and it may also take a decision to support Independent candidates, who are ideologically close to the Congress.”

Senior BJP leader K.V. Singhdeo said: “So far, we have had three meetings of our five-member selection committee. We will prepare the list by December 16.”

Chairman of the candidate selection committee of Odisha Jan Morcha, Mihir Mohanty, who was the first mayor of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, said: “We got the party symbol yesterday and received a good response from the public at a rally. We will contest in all the wards in the city. A six-member panel will finalise the list.”

The city, which earlier had 60 wards, will now have 67. Of these, 34 will be reserved for women.

Issuing of nomination forms will start from December 16. While the scrutiny of forms will be held on December 23, the publication of valid nominations will take place next day.

The poll notification issued by the State Election Commission says that withdrawal of nominations will be allowed till 3pm on December 26. The final list of the candidates will be published by 5pm that day.