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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Naveen Patnaik releases list of Biju Janata Dal candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls

Party has fielded its most powerful youth leader and party’s organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das against Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency

Subhasish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 28.03.24, 07:32 AM
Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik File picture

Odisha chief minister and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday released the list of candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

The party has fielded its most powerful youth leader and party’s organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das against Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan from the Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency. It has fielded a political greenhorn, the son of a senior Congress leader who joined the party on Wednesday, against the sitting BJP MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sarangi.

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The party has declared candidates for nine Lok Sabha and 72 Assembly seats. Naveen will contest from the Hinjili Assembly seat in Ganjam district which has returned him to the state legislature faithfully five times in a row.

While Das’s candidature from Sambalpur is expected to make the fight interesting the announcement came as a surprise to many as he belongs to the coastal belt and has been winning Assembly elections from Jajpur since 2009. Apart from the fact that he happens to be the BJD observer for Sambalpur, he has little to do with the area. The BJP may try to project Das as an outsider to win the seat.

Similarly, the party has fielded Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey as its candidate for the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat. Tirkey will take on the sitting Sundargarh MP and former Union minister Jual Oram. Last time, Tirkey had lost to Oram in 2014. Tirkey did not contest in 2019.

Similarly, the candidature of Manmath Routray, a former pilot and son of senior Congress leader Suresh Routray, who joined the Congress on Wednesday morning, from Bhubaneswar has come as a major surprise. A political greenhorn Routray despite his father’s political clout is being seen as a lightweight. Aparajita, on the other hand, has struck deep roots in the constituency in the last five years after her maiden victory in 2019 when she defeated former Mumbai commissioner of police Arup Patnaik who lost by 11,700 votes.

This time the party had initially projected a young BJD leader Srimoyee Mishra as its candidate for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat. However, it has made a last-minute change and fielded Manmath Routray.

The BJD has fielded former Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty, who recently joined the regional party, from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency. He would fight against BJP national vice-president Baijayant “Jay” Panda. The sitting BJD MP from Kendrapara Anubhav Mohanty was dropped.

Naveen has also sprung a few surprises while selecting candidates for the Assembly elections which are being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha. He has changed the seats of several MLAs to accommodate younger leaders.

He released the second list of Lok Sabha candidates in the evening. As per the list, former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik has been pitted against BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra in Puri.

The party has reposed faith in Achyuta Samanta and fielded him from the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat again.

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