Odishatv Bureau

The first and second list of candidates released by the BJD in Odisha reflects how the party is pinning hopes on new faces, especially in Lok Sabha seats. 

Out of the total 15 Lok Sabha seats for which the party has declared candidates, it has fielded new candidates in as many as 11 seats. Of the nine names declared for Lok Sabha seats, only Kausalya Hikaka has been repeated in the Koraput seat.

  • Kalahandi LS seat: Lambodar Nial (2019: Pushpendra Singhdeo) 

  • Sambalpur: Pranab Prakash Das (2019: Nalini Pradhan)

  • Sundargarh: Dilip Tirkey (2019: Sunita Biswal)

  • Mayurbhanj: Sudam Marndi (2019: Debashish Marndi)

  • Kendrapada: Anshuman Mohanty (2019: Anubhav Mohanty)

  • Nabarangpur: Pradeep Majhi (2019: Ramesh Majhi)

  • Bhubaneswar: Manmath Routray (2019: Arup Patnaik)

  • Aska: Ranjita Sahoo (2019: Pramila Bisoyi)

  • Cuttack: Santrupt Mishra (2019: Bhartruhari Mahtab)

  • Puri: Arup Patnaik (2019: Pinaki Mishra)

  • Dhenkanal: Abinash Samal (2019: Mahesh Sahoo )

  • Jajpur: Sharmistha Sethi (2019: Sharmistha Sethi)

  • Jagatsinghpur: Rajashree Mallick (2019: Rajashree Mallick)

  • Kandhamal: Achyuta Samant (2019: Achyuta Samant)

  • Koraput: Kausalaya Hikaka (2019: Kausalaya Hikaka)

These significant changes come in the wake of reports that rival BJP's prospects in the Lok Sabha this time round are believed to be far better. So in a way, the BJD had to put in a lot of thinking into choosing the right candidates to counter the BJP. 

Risky strategy

Many believe that the BJD has taken a risk this time with the Lok Sabha candidates, especially, looking at the party's choice of candidates for Kendrapara, Bhubaneswar, & Sambalpur LS seats.  The party has fielded Anshuman Mohanty, who recently quit Congress and joined the BJD, against BJP's National Vice President Baijayant Panda in the Kendrapara LS seat. Similarly, BJD's organisational secretary, Pranab Prakash Das will be leading BJD's fight in Sambalpur against Union Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan. In Bhubaneswar, the party has fielded Manmath Routray against BJP's Aparajita Sarangi, who had won the seat last time as well. Interestingly, Manmath had joined the party today itself and the party offered him the ticket of the Bhubaneswar seat within hours of his joining. 

Taken off guard

Political observers also opine that the alliance talks and its failure somewhat derailed BJD's calculations. Experts also highlight signs of haste in the list announced by the BJD, which might have had to announce names in a hurry, especially in seats, where it had earlier thought of going in alliance with the BJP. The case in point being the Bhubaneswar LS candidate, Manmath Routray, who is new to the party and the constituency and shows that the BJD had somewhat not factored in the current turn of events. Similarly, the party was in a dilemma over fielding Pranab Prakash Das from the Sambalpur seat. Had the alliance materialised, then Dharmendra Pradhan would have been the candidate and now that the alliance is out of the question, it had to field Pranab Prakash Das.