Himansu Shekhar Rout

Biju Janata Dal(BJD) supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the party’s poll preparedness and the ongoing organizational activities in Berhampur and Aska parliamentary segments of Ganjam at Naveen Niwas on Thursday before finalizing the candidates. Amid this, speculation is rife about the ticket hopefuls.

As per reports, there are 14 Assembly segments under Bramhapur and Aska Lok Sabha seats. However, Assembly seats like Sanakhmeundi, Mohana and Paralakhemundi are now represented by leaders from the opposition parties.

It is said that the BJD is gripped by infighting in Aska, Khallikote, Digapahandi, Chhatrapur, and Kabisuryanagar Assembly segments. In Gopalpur, present BJP leader Pradeep Panigrahi has posed a challenge to the ruling party.    

The first review meeting was held on Berhampur Lok Sabha seat at 7.30 am in the presence of the party’s district observer Pradip Amat, Gjapati observer Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Bramhapur observer Manas Mangaraj, MP Chandrasekhar Sahu and MLA Bikram Panda.      

Besides, Chikiti MLA Usha Devi’s son Swarup Dev and former MLA Surjya Narayan Patro’s son Biplab Patra also attended the meeting. 

It is speculated that the BJD may repeat Chandrasekhar Sahu in the Berhampur LS seat, Bipalb Patra may be given a ticket for Digapahandi Assembly seat and Bikram Panda may be fielded in Gopalpur seat.

Veteran BJD leader Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik may be given a ticket in Berhampur Assembly seat while Usha Devi’s son Swarup Deb may be fielded in Chikiti.

However, the party is brainstorming on the candidates for Mohana and Paralakhemundi seats.    
BJD leader Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said.”We had a discussion about how the party will ensure electoral success in all seats in Ganjam.”

The second review meeting was held on Aska LS seat. The BJD is reportedly laying more focus on Aska because Hinjili Assembly seat, the home turf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, comes under it. However, Aska MP Pramila Bisoyi skipped the meeting. 

The party is allegedly fretting over Polasara Assembly seat where MLA Srikant Sahoo has been mired in an unsavoury controversy. Aska MLA Manjula Swain and Khallikote MLA Suryamani Baidya were present at the meeting.

It is said that the BJD may field new faces in Aska, Khallikote and Sorada Assembly segments while Kabisuryanagar MLA Latika Pradhan may be asked to contest as MP in Aska LS seat.

Former Sanakhemundi MLA Nandini Devi accompanied her daughter Sulakhyana Devi to the meeting. She is hoping for a party ticket, sources said.     

BJD leader Satyanarayan Swain, who aspires for a ticket, expressed his unhappiness over the current state of party’s affairs. He observed, ”When a king fails to rule the kingdom, and MLAs are unable to keep their flocks together, leadership is questioned.” 

BJD MLA Latika Pradhan said, ”The party discussed organizational activities on the basis of the party’s status in various Assembly segments.”

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