Pradeep Pattanayak

Ahead of the general elections 2024, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday appointed Pratap Jena and Sanjay Das Burma as the district observers. The party in a press release informed the development on Thursday. 

According to the release, Odisha Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has appointed Mahanga MLA Jena and senior leader Sanjay Das Burma as the observers of Kendrapara and Bhadrak districts respectively. 

At a time when speculations were rife that the party had been sidelining Sanjay Das Burma, the party’s supremo seems to have reposed his faith in him and appointed him as the observer of Bhadrak district.

Similarly, at a time when Pratap Jena is preparing for a legal battle in connection with Mahanga double murder case, the party has given him a crucial responsibility by appointing him the observer of Kendrapara district. 

And, from the fact that these two leaders have been made the observers of the two districts where the party’s arch-rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is strengthening its position, one thing is clear that the conch party is serious about stabilising its organisations there. 

According to political analysts, while appointing Pratap Jena as the observer of Kendrapara district, the party is also trying to send out a message that the party is with him, who has been playing a crucial role in elections as well as by-elections. The party may be thinking that he is the one who is the best person to bring the party back to track in Kendrapara, where the BJP is striking its roots. 

In his reaction, Das Burma said, “I am grateful to party president Naveen Patnaik for reposing faith in me. In the past, I discharged whatever responsibilities Naveen Patnaik had given me sincerely and diligently. I will go the extra mile to discharge the new responsibility.”

On the other hand, the BJP targeted the BJD over the fresh appointment of observers in Kendrapara and Bhadrak districts, saying the party is a party of criminals. 

“Though Pratap Jena has been summoned by the JMFC court, he is yet to appear before the court in connection with Mahanga double murder case. To protect him, his call records were not submitted to the court for a year. To further shield him, the supremo of the BJD party has appointed him as the observer of the Kendrapara district. What will he observe in Kendrapara? Will he observe the crime? Will he observe how the Mahanga incident will be repeated in Kendarapara?” asked state BJP general secretary, Lekhashree Samantasinghar. 

“I can’t understand why the BJD has formed a gang of criminals, instead of a team of politicians. As long as people like Pratap Jena, Dibya Shankar Mishra, Arun Sahu, Samir Das, and Bijay Shankar Dash are in politics, the people of Odisha will keep asking the questions. The people of Odisha will give a befitting reply to them in the coming general elections,” she added.

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