Pradeep Pattanayak

Even though the big electoral fight is just around the corner, the three major political parties-the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress- are yet to announce the names of their candidates in many Assembly seats. 

Multiple aspirants for a single seat are said to be the reason why the parties are yet to finalise their candidates. 

With just 8 days left for nomination filing for the first phase of elections in which 28 Assembly Constituencies will go to polls, the BJD has not yet announced candidates in four seats. Similarly, the BJP and the Congress are yet to finalise candidates for nine and five Assembly seats, respectively. 

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While the Congress has nominated Taraprasad Bahinipati for the Jeypore seat, the BJP is struggling to pick one among Goutam Samantaray and Himanshu Mohapatra. Similarly, BJD’s Rabi Nanda and Radhabinod Samantaray are vying for the ticket.  

“The next phase of candidates will be announced in a day or two. Thereafter, you can find the leader as well as workers on the ground,” said Goutam Samantaray. 

“For the selection of candidates, various factors like his image and organisational skills are taken into consideration. So the announcements are coming in phases,” said Radhabinod Samantaray. 

The situation is not different in Laxmipur seat. For this seat, the Congress has already announced its candidate.  The tussle between MLA Prabhu Jani and former MLA Kailash Kulesika is said to be the reason why the BJD is yet to nominate its candidate. The BJP is reportedly in wait-and-watch mode. 

The BJP is also yet to declare the names of its candidates for the Bisamkatak and Rayagada Assembly seats. 

Neither BJD nor the BJP has announced its candidates for the Chitrakonda seat. It is discussed that the BJD has zeroed in on Laxmipriya Nayak. But MLA Purnachandra Baka and another faction are opposing it. Due to this, the party is yet to announce the candidate for this seat. 

But, it is certain that the BJP is going to field former MLA Dambaru Sisa as its candidate here. 

The BJD is yet to announce its candidate for the Narla seat. Bhupinder Singh is its sitting MLA.  While his name is doing the rounds, former CEO of Western Odisha Development Council, Ajit Mishra is also cropping up. It is also discussed that like last election, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may contest from a seat in Western Odisha. It is discussed that he may contest from Narla. 

The Congress has not opened its cards in Chhatrapur, Gopalpur, Berhampur and Digapahandi seats. 

“BJP is number one in announcing candidates. It will announce the names of candidates for the rest of the seats at the appropriate time,” said BJP vice president, Biranchi Tripathy. 

Informing about his party’s strategy, senior congress leader Bijay Patnaik said, “The Congress has finalised the names of candidates for some seats. We have a process to announce candidates’ names. The process is underway and soon the names for the rest of the seats will be announced.”

“The party leaders are looking at various aspects to finalise a candidate. The party is applying the strategies to win in all 147 Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats,” asserted BJD MLA Swarup Das.

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