Vikash Sharma

Speculations are rife that BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may contest from Western Odisha in the upcoming 2024 elections. It is being said that Patnaik may contest from the Kantabanji Assembly seat in Bolangir district.

The BJD is yet to announce its candidate for the Kantabanji seat which is a political strategic location as the party is contemplating roping in CM Naveen Patnaik to gain an advantage also in Bolangir, Bargarh, Nuapada, and Kalahandi.

BJD might be keen to rope its heavy weight from Kantabanji to checkmate the opposition BJP and Congress.

Congress' Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja and BJP leader KV Singh Deo have been targeting the Odisha government on several issues. The Congress has this time roped in senior leader Bhakta Das from the Narla Assembly seat.

BJD supremo had also contested from Western Odisha's Bijepur seat in the last election and had subsequently vacated the seat, resulting in the byelection.

The BJD may also change candidates in two Assembly seats- Sambalpur and Rairakhol as senior leader Prasanna Acharya is said to be unhappy over his candidature from Sambalpur seat. Acharya is more keen to contest from Rairakhol seat.

Senior journalist Akshay Sahu said, "In Odisha politics, the opposition camp is more active in Western Odisha. If CM will contest from Western Odisha, he will do so to checkmate opposition leaders and it will have a cascading impact on nearby constituencies."

Also Read | BJD announces 5th list of candidates, CM Naveen Patnaik to contest from Kantabanji