Himansu Shekhar Rout

After names of candidates were announced for 72 Assembly seats, ticket hopefuls in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) have started revolting against the party’s nominees at many places including Dharmasala, Cuttack-Choudwar and Rayagada. Now, the party is reportedly in such an internal tumult that it has to first deal with infighting before taking on its rivals.  
As per reports, a merger meeting of the BJD was cancelled at Gosinga under the Rajnagar Assembly segment of Kendrapara on Wednesday after Anshuman Mohanty, who was earlier with the Congress, was given a ticket for the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat.

His supporters were about to merge with the BJD. Anshuman was hoping to contest on the BJD ticket in the Rajnagar Assembly seat, his home turf. His supporters are said to be fuming over his nomination for the Parliamentary seat where the BJP has re-nominated its stalwart Baijayant Panda.

BJD leader Anshuman Mohanty said, "It was natural that my supporters wanted me to be their legislator since I represented Rajnagar earlier. Many think, after becoming MP, leaders get distanced from the people.” 

In Rayagada, a group of BJD leaders have opposed the nomination of Anusuya Majhi. Scores of leaders have resigned from the party en masse, alleging that the party’s district unit president and observer were not taken into confidence over ticket allotment.

However, Anusuya’s supporters asserted that the resignations would make no difference to the party candidate.

Gangadhar Puala, a BJD leader from Rayagada, said, “No local leaders were consulted over her selection. We cannot accept such a decision.” 

Kanda Babu, a supporter of Anusuya, said, "All are happy in Kashipur and Rayagada over the nomination of Anusuya. Only 10 to 15 people are unhappy.” 

In Cuttack-Choudwar, BJD leader Rupali Lenka strongly opposed the candidature of Souvic Biswal and warned that she would contest from the seat as an independent. Addressing a presser, she took a swipe at Souvic and his father Pravat Biswal.

Rupali said, "I am going to contest as an independent. If I win, I will be in the BJD.”

Souvic Biswal said, "I don’t think anyone is opposing me as my father Pravat Ranjan Biswal has been working here.”  

In Dharmasala, similar scenes were witnessed as former Zilla Parishad member Satish Biswal opposed the re-nomination of MLA Pranab Balabantaray. Biswal has resigned from the BJD. 

Biswal said, "I resigned from the BJD. Pranab Balabantaray and his family have been the serial killer of BJD and Biju Babu’s ideals.”  

On the other hand, a group of BJD workers opposed Antaryami Gamang, who is a frontrunner for tickets in the Mohana Assembly segment. 

In the Chitrakonda seat, BJD leader Laxmipriya Nayak is likely to get a BJD ticket. But party leaders including some sarpanchs and samiti members have opposed her leadership.  

Senior journalist Rabi Das said, "The BJD has not announced tickets in 75 Assembly seats where there are multiple ticket hopefuls. The revolt will come to the fore then."

(By Odisha TV Bureau)