Bhubaneswar, March 28: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is battling hard to douse the rebel fire with potential to upset its applecart.
Party supremo Naveen Patnaik today started meeting potential mischief-makers who have been denied tickets for the Assembly polls.
Realising that the enemy is within the party, on instructions of Naveen, senior leaders too have started meeting dissidents to soothe their feelings so as to ensure that the party fought the polls as one.
The party has made a detailed analysis of the dissidence factor and has identified nearly 40 of 147 Assembly seats where disgruntled party men could upstage its applecart.
Party sources said that some of these leaders would be given poll assignments in the party to assuage their hurt feelings.
Naveen has already met the Debendra Kanhar, the sitting MLA of Kandhamal, who was denied a ticket at the last moment. Kanhar said: “I tried to explain to Naveen babu how I have been made a scapegoat. As I am a disciplined soldier, I wanted to know why I was denied the ticket.”
Naveen gave a patient hearing to Kanhar and assured him that the party would certainly protect his interest.
Another young leader from Bhubaneswar-Ekamra Ranjit Mohapatra was assured by Naveen that the party valued his contribution.
“What can I do at the moment after Naveen babu personally told me to work for the party,” Mohapatra said.
He was keen for the ticket that was given to sitting MLA Ashok Panda.
Another leader who was denied a ticket from Bhubaneswar (Central), Durga Samantray said: “Party vice-president Kalapataru Das has told me not to worry.”
Khandapada’s sitting MLA Siddharth Sekhar Singh said: “Being a disciplined members of the party, I decided not to contest.”
After trying to rein in rebels, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today toured Balangir and Kalahandi districts and the home turf of the state BJP unit president, K.V. Singh Deo, Patnagarh. In all these meetings Naveen targeted the UPA government and did not spare the BJP also.
The Congress has also intensified its campaign. Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena accompanied by the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha nominee Bijoy Mohanty toured different areas of Jatni.
The BJP has intensified its campaign, particularly in west Odisha, where it enjoyed a good support base.