Pradeep Pattanayak

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha appears to be grappling with the problem of plenty with as many as 10,000 aspirants looking forward to enter the fray while there are only 168 tickets on offer (147 Assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha seats). 

In his February 25 post on X, BJD organisational secretary, Pranab Prakash Das revealed that the party has received more than 10,000 applications for party tickets for the 2024 general elections. “It is very gratifying that a large number of professionals and leaders of national political parties are also applying for BJD tickets,” he had said. 

This revelation made by none other than the BJD organisational secretary has led political pundits to believe that it is going to be a herculean task for the BJD to make peace with the disgruntled leaders. 

“If a school gets more students, it doesn’t mean that all of them will pass in first class. Let alone 10,000, even if 1 lakh aspirants apply, nothing would happen for BJD,” said BJP state vice president, Lekhashree Samantsinghar. 

Congress’ Odisha in-charge Ajoy Kumar said, “Because of Pandian, there is dissidence in the party. Many BJD leaders are in touch with us. Those who want to save Odisha should join us.”

Responding to the statements of the BJP and Congress leaders, BJD Vice President Debi Prasad Mishra said, “The party will select those candidates who have winnability and a bond with the party.”  

Besides the problem of plenty, the infighting in the party is going to be a stumbling block. For example, while Minister Ashwini Patra is currently representing from Jaleswar Assembly constituency, former Jaleswar block vice president Braja Pradhan has started lobbying for a ticket.

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Meanwhile, he has threatened that he along with 30,000 supporters would leave the party if a ticket is denied to him. 

“If the party denies a ticket to me, I along with my 30,000 supporters will quit BJD and join other parties,” said Pradhan. 

Khallikote Assembly constituency is witnessing the same situation.  Here, sitting MLA Surjyamani Baidya and former legislator Purnachandra Sethy are locking horns to get a ticket. 

“If the party doesn’t consider me, I may explore alternatives. One thing is clear that I would definitely contest the election this time,” said Sethy. 

Political analyst Rabi Das said the BJD is going to have a herculean task ahead. 

“I don’t know what the party’s policy for ticket distribution is. But it would be difficult for the party to please those who would be denied ticket,” said Das.

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