Himansu Shekhar Rout

In many cases, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha has given tickets to two members of a single family for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections this time, pointing to the fact that the ruling party has thrown its much-touted anti-dynasty social media campaign to the winds.

The case in point is the party’s organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das who has been fielded as the MP candidate from the prestigious Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. His mother Sandhyarani Das was given a ticket for the Korei Assembly seat, which used to be the constituency of Pranab’s father Ashok Das.

The party’s current stance of giving tickets to two members of a family stands contrary to a recent social media campaign on March 23 and 24 after Pranab’s maternal uncle Bhabani Shankar Jagdev and his brother-in-law Arindam Roy quit the BJD expressing their displeasure over alleged denial of tickets. Roy and Jagdev also criticised Pranab. 

Subsequently, party leaders like Sasmit Patra, Ananta Narayan Jena and Souvic Biswal came out in praise of Pranab and ran a social media campaign by sharing a post in which Pranab was projected as a trendsetting advocate against the political dynasty. 

“If Pranab had wished, he could have no problems in giving more than one ticket to his family members.  He could have distributed ticket to anyone he wished to...” the campaign said.

However, no reactions were received from Pranab and his mother.    

Now many wonder how an anti-dynasty poster boy could become a trendsetter for pro-dynasty politics. 

Capability and calibre matter for tickets: BJD 

The family of BJD leaders like Sudam Marndi and Sudhir Samal have got two tickets. Sudam has been fielded as the Lok Sabha candidate for the Mayurbhanj seat while his wife Ranjita Marndi has been allowed to fight the Assembly poll from the Bangiriposi seat.

As for the ticket to his wife, Sudam explained, "I feel the Chief Minister has given the ticket looking at the capability and calibre of a leader and taking women empowerment into consideration. This has nothing to do with the family.”  

The BJD has repeated the candidature of Sudhir Samal in the Dhenkanal Assembly constituency while his nephew Abinash Samal has been nominated for the Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat. 

BJD is a party of families: BJP

Training his gun at the BJD for its dynasty politics, BJP leader Jatin Mohanty said, "In several cases, the party has given tickets to its leaders along with their wives, sons, mother, nephews, kin and so on. The ruling party has become a party of families. Pranab and his mother are contesting polls. This is ludicrous.” 

Senior Journalist Rabi Das said, "The BJD was in a dilemma in Korei over multiple ticket aspirants and intense lobbying. Had the party not fielded the wife of Ashok Das, it could have been difficult for the party to handle the situation because of party rebels.

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