Pradeep Pattanayak

The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday prepared a list of candidates for 147 Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. 

While the Election Commission of India (ECI) was announcing the poll dates today, the leaders of the saffron party were busy preparing the list of candidates for Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in the State. 

Amid the suspense on the possible tie-up with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the party convened two important meetings back-to-back at the party office in Bhubaneswar. The party’s core committee meeting was held at 11 am. Thereafter, the party’s state election committee meeting was held. 

Also Read: BJP-BJD alliance suspense: Strategy chalked out, says BJP's election in-charge for Odisha

Among others, state president Manmohan Samal, National Vice President Baijayant Panda, state election in-charge and co-in-charge, two Union Ministers, MPs, and MLAs attended the meeting. 

The party leaders put their brains together and discussed the names collected from the grassroots level and the ones suggested by the election observers. After taking various aspects like winnability and organisational skills into consideration, the party shortlisted names for 147 Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats.

The party will send the list to the central committee for perusal at its end. 

“A detail strategy has been prepared for Odisha. We will contest in the Assembly and Lok Sabha seats with our full strength,” said BJP's election in-charge for Odisha, Vijaypal Singh Tomar. 

Even though the party has already prepared a list of probable candidates, the leaders and workers are still in the dark about the alliance with the BJD. Moreover, the statement of Union Home Minister Amit Shah has intensified the confusion further. 

While replying to the queries of journalists at the India Today Conclave 2024 on Friday, Amit Shah said, "I cannot throw much light on this matter as the Prime Minister and the Party President have not decided how the party should move ahead in Odisha. But I can say this much that whatever our course of action is, BJP will see significant gains both in the Lok Sabha and in Assembly elections."

When asked about the alliance, BJP MP Pratap Sarangi said, “It (BJP) is a national party. The decision (regarding alliance) would be taken by the party’s top leaders.”

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