Himansu Shekhar Rout

The infighting within the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Balasore has assumed serious proportions over multiple ticket aspirants and imported leaders carving out niches for themselves. This has resulted in a dilemma and delay for the party to select candidates in three Assembly segments.

As per reports, the ticket aspirants and imported leaders are in confrontational mode. 

In Nilagiri, the BJD stands divided into two camps as sitting MLA Sukant Nayak quit the BJP and joined the BJD. However, BJD leader

Santosh Khatua, who has long been looking after the party organisation with the hope of a party ticket in the 2024 elections, has become belligerent. 

The ruling party is also unable to decide candidates for the Bhograi and Remuna seats.    

The political bitterness between sitting MLA Sukant Nayak and Santosh Khatua is obvious from the fact that the two leaders have opened two party offices. Nayak runs the office on Ratha Danda while Khatua has it near the women’s college. 

BJD leader Sukant Nayak said, "I thank the BJD workers. I will accept what will be asked of me by the Chief Minister.”

In the 2019 election, Sukant contested on a BJP ticket and trounced BJD nominee Khatua. The camp of Khatua is now openly opposing Nayak and even takes snipes at Nayak at times. Both leaders are holding parallel meetings and rallies.

At a recent meeting, Khatua expressed his discontent saying, "Water and oil cannot get along together.” He has amply cleared the air about the slim chances of reconciliation.   

Trilochan Behera, a BJD supporter in Nilagiri said, "Workers are in dilemma. Whoever gets a ticket will get our support.”

The situation of the ruling party is no different in the Bhograi seat where sitting MLA Ananta Das is not in a position to fight polls because of his age. He wants the party to give a ticket to his son Abhijit Das this time. 

Ananta Das said, “I did not ask for a ticket for myself. I told them to give the ticket to my son. We are sitting in hope on their assurance.”   
But such a plan is being opposed by BJD’s district unit vice president, Bhubanananda Das and journalist-turned-politician, Goutam Buddha Das.

Bhubanananda said, "Our block committee had decided to give a ticket to an experienced and able leader who is in the organisation. People will not accept a leader outside the party organisation. We have told this to our district observer Pratap Deb.”

Journalist-turned-politician Goutam Buddha Das observed, "I have discharged the responsibilities which have been assigned to me by the party in the past. If the Chief Minister gives the onus for Bhograi, I will do my best.” 

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The Remuna seat is a reserved seat for SC. Sitting MLA Sudhansu Sekhar Dhada was suspended from the party over allegations of a scam in the sale of agriculture equipment a few months ago.

In such a situation, two party leaders, Santa Das and Deepak Parida are hopeful of a ticket for this seat.

(Report by Biswamabar Das, Ajit Das & Rashmiranjan Das)