Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has dropped five senior leaders and sitting legislators out of the nine Assembly seats for which the party announced candidates on Saturday.

However, the party has fielded four women candidates among the nine announced today raising questions if the BJD has played the women card in its sixth list. The ruling party is yet to announce candidates for 12 Assembly seats.   

The ruling party could not rely on its six-time MLA Amar Satpathy in the Barchana seat. The party sprung up a surprise by fielding actress-turned-politician Varsha Priyadarshini, ex-wife of actor-turned-politician Anubhav Mohanty. 

The BJD also did not repeat the candidature of sitting MLA Sashi Bhusan Behera in the Kendrapara Assembly seat, where former Congress legislator, Ganeswar Behera has been fielded.  

BJD leader Ganeswar Behera said, "I am thankful to the BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for giving me the ticket. The Chief Minister is a Vikash Purusha and a pioneer of Odisha's development.” 

Moreover, two-time BJD MLA from Anandpur, Baghirathi Sethi was also dropped this time. The party has given the ticket to new face Abhimanyu Sethi. 

The party dropped Champua MLA Minakshi Mohanta and gave the ticket to former MLA Sanatan Mahakud. 

Similarly, the BJD has denied a ticket to the sitting MLA of Simulia, Jyoti Panigrahi while giving a chance to new face Subhasini Sahu. In Remuna, the party has fielded Patripal sarpanch, Bidyasmita Mahalik. Remuna is represented by Sudhansu Sekhar Dhada, who has been expelled from the party.

Also Read | BJD releases 6th list of candidates for Assembly seats; Varsha Priyadarshini to contest from Barchana

Bidyasmita said, "I belong to an SHG and a poor family. I thank the Chief Minister for giving me a chance to fight.” 

The party has repeated the candidature of sitting MLA Basanti Hembram in Karanjia Assembly seat.

Raghunath Sahu, who was fielded in Chilika seat said, "I will try to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Chilika.”

Political observer, Rabi Das said, "The party has given tickets to many women candidates and wants to woo the women voters. But the situation and equation of the party may change if the disgruntled leaders play spoilsport in some seats.”

(By OdishaTV Bureau)