Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With the 2024 General Elections around the corner, several aspiring candidates of the major political parties in Odisha are lobbying hard to secure tickets.

Hundreds of party leaders and workers are making a beeline near Naveen Niwas (Odisha CM & BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik's residence) on a daily basis to lobby for BJD tickets. While some of the aspiring candidates are coming with their bio-data, others are showing their organizational prowess by bringing their supporters. 

Though BJD is planning to distribute tickets well ahead of the election, an increase in the number of aspiring candidates may put the ruling party in trouble.

As per sources, more than 10,000 people have so far applied for Biju Janata Dal (BJD) tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha and the Odisha Assembly elections. Moreover, the number of aspiring candidates is increasing every day. On the pretext of expressing their gratitude to Naveen Patnaik and 5T Chairman VK Pandian, hundreds of aspirants are thronging Naveen Niwas.

Take the case of Priyanka Mallick who reached Naveen Niwas today with her bio-data. She is aspiring for a ticket for the Kendrapara Assembly seat.

“My entire family has been working for the BJD for so many days. My father-in-law and mother-in-law are very active members of the party. Moreover, BJD is giving importance to women candidates, Hence, I am hopeful for a ticket,” said Priyanka.

Meanwhile, BJD MP Ramesh Majhi, Minister Ashok Panda, and party leader Shreemayee Mishra also reached Naveen Niwas with members of various organisations to showcase their popularity.

“I have expressed my wish to the party about the seat from which I want to contest. I am ready to contest either from a Parliament or an Assembly seat. It all depends on the decision of the party supremo,” said Majhi.

As per party sources, BJD may announce the names of the candidates well in advance this time. Green signal has been given to around 50 per cent candidates so far. Planning is already underway to change the candidates in some seats.

“It is not possible to give tickets to all the aspirants. Discussions will be held with others to sort out issues,” said BJD MLA Nrusingha Sahu.

As per political analysts, BJD might be in trouble in the upcoming election as there are many aspirants for each seat. They may switch their allegiance to other parties at the last moment causing big problems for the party.

Meanwhile, the Opposition BJP and Congress have also prepared their strategies to distribute tickets among the party candidates.

The saffron party will announce the name of 100 candidates for Lok Sabha seats very soon and among those two to three candidates will be from Odisha. Party observers have been told to submit a report on the possible candidates for all the Lok Sabha seats in Odisha before March 1. Similarly, they have also been told to submit the list of the probable candidates for all the constituencies on March 2 after conducting core committee and election management meetings.

“The observers will give the list of probable candidates for 21 Lok Sabha seats to us by March 1. Our core committee and election management committee meetings about the Assembly elections will be held soon and the report will be submitted before us by March 3,” said State BJP President, Manmohan Samal.

On the other hand, Odisha Congress has already started the process to announce the names of 70 candidates. A screening committee meeting in this regard was conducted in Delhi on Tuesday. Odisha Congress President Sarat Pattanayak, leader of Congress legislature party Narasingha Mishra, and party's Odisha in-charge Ajoy Kumar participated in the meeting. Emphasis was laid on 21 Lok Sabha seats. Discussion will be held about the candidates for Assembly seats in the second meeting on March 9.

“The emphasis in today’s meeting was on Lok Sabha election. Elaborate discussion will be made about Assembly seats on March 9,” said PCC President Sarat Pattanayak.