Sidelining many MLAs and MPs, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has reportedly tasked some new leaders as district coordinators for Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, just ahead of the 2024 elections. So, what could be the strategy of the ruling party to promote the leaders, who many believe to be lobbying for tickets?
It is said that with appointments as coordinators, these leaders enjoyed the power and scope to highlight themselves at government events, programmes, and inaugurations. They got the advantage of coming closer to the people and striking a rapport with them months before the elections.
On the other hand, it is natural on the part of the MLAs and MPs, who have been serving with the party for a long time to feel sidelined. Will such a move of the ruling party foment fissure within the party? Will it enable these coordinators to cement their ties with the voters & will they be accepted by the people if given tickets? Will the ruling party strategy boomerang ahead of the elections? Such questions are now ringing in the minds of the political observers.
As per reports, Dr Sanjay Das, a frontline leader of the party, was named district coordinator of Bhadrak for Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. Das, who is said to be lobbying for a party ticket for the Dhamnagar Assembly constituency, is frequently seen in all events and programmes of the party. Contrarily, former legislator Muktikant Mandal had declared him as the future candidate of the party during a padayatra.
Similarly, former legislator of Baliguda in Kandhamal, Rajib Patra is working as the district coordinator of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. The party had denied a ticket to Patra last time. Patra is said to be in the race for a ticket for Baliguda this time.
Moreover, the BJD has appointed Srimayee Mishra as the district coordinator of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha for the Khordha district and the party’s observer in the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha segment. It is said that the ruling party may field her as its nominee for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat which is represented by BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi.
Apart from these three leaders, 16 other leaders who have been appointed as district coordinators of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha are said to be in the race for party tickets for the 2024 elections.
Dr Sanjay Das, district coordinator of Bhadrak for Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, said, “I am looking after the smooth implementation of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. I will be happy to perform any responsibility to be given by our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.”
However, Rajib Patra, the district coordinator of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha in Kandhamal, said, “I am coordinating the events of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. I am not hopeful that the ticket nor my responsibility as the coordinator can be seen as the future party nominee.”
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BJD leader Umakant Samatray said, “Coordinators are ensuring smooth conduct of the programmes under Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha. Who will be given party tickets will depend on our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.”
However, senior journalist Rabi Das observed, "The BJD is trying to remain connected with the people and voters via Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha to stave off discontent. But there are four to five ticket hopefuls in most Assembly constituencies, apart from the incumbent MLAs.”