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Naveen denies BJD tickets to 35 sitting MLAs and 6 MPs

Bhubaneswar, Mar 25 (PTI): Naveen Patnaik, chief of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal, on Tuesday sought to overhaul his party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha as well as assembly elections by denying tickets to 35 sitting MLAs and six members of Parliament.

The sitting MPs denied tickets were Nityananda Pradhan (Aska), Mohan Jena (Jajpur), Rudramadhav Ray (Kandhamal), Yoswant Singh Laguri (Keonjhar), Jayram Pangi (Koraput) and Laxman Tudu (Mayurbhanj).

Mayurbhanj MP Laxman Tudu was replaced by sitting MLA Ramchandra Hansda while Yoswant Singh Laguri's wife Shakuntala was BJD's candidate from the Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat.

Among sitting MLAs denied ticket were three prominent leaders and former ministers --- Prafulla Ghadai (who was a finance minister), Raghunath Mohanty (law), Kalandi Behera (energy) and Anjali Behera (women and child development).

Patnaik, however, gave party ticket to sons of some prominent leaders.

The BJD chief retained Priti Ranjan Ghadai, a sitting MLA from Korei and allowed him to contest from the Sukinda seat, considered his father's fort.

Similarly, Kalandi Behera did not get a ticket, but his son Chandra Sarathi Behera (a sitting MLA from Salipur) would contest from his father's Cuttack-Sadar seat.

As panchayati raj minister Kalpataru Das was elected to the Rajya Sabha, Patnaik allowed his son Pranab Prakash Balabantray to contest from his father's Dharmasala seat.

While denying ticket to Deogarh MLA Sanjib Sahoo, Patnaik allowed his wife Anita Sahoo to contest from her husband's seat.

Similarly, while denying party ticket to Simulia MLA Parsuram Panigrahi, the BJD chief allowed his son Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi to contest in his father's place.

Patnaik allowed finance minister and BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya to contest from Bijepur instead of his Rairakhole seat.

”Patkura MLA Bedprakash Agarwal and Niali MLA Dr Pramod Mallick will contest from their respective constituencies,” Patnaik said finalising the candidates' list for 147 assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Patnaik also rewarded party hoppers such as Congress leader Hema Gamang, wife of former chief minister Giridhar Gamang, Congress MLA Anup Sai, former BJP minister Golak Naik and former JMM state president Sudam Marandi with BJD tickets to contest the assembly polls.

The case of former Leader of Congress Legislature Party Bhupinder Singh was not considered.

The list of candidates also included some film actors like Akash Das Nayak, T P Satpathy and Siddhant Mohapatra.