Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Keeping its mission 24 in mind, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has played a master card by announcing the names of around 35 percent of candidates across the country ahead of the 2024 General Election. In its first phase of the list for the candidates, the saffron party has included candidates from all categories including around 50 percent young and women candidates. It has been learnt from the party sources that as there will be simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and Assembly in Odisha, no candidates from any seat of the State have been included in the first phase of the list.

As per reports, the BJP has given importance to young and women candidates in the first phase list of its candidates. Moreover, emphasis has also been given to all the categories including SC, ST and OBC. Names of 195 candidates have been announced by the saffron party in the first phase. As many as 47 candidates below 50 years of age have been included in the list. Similarly, 28 women have been given tickets for Lok Sabha seats. The list also includes 57 OBC, 27 SC and 18 ST candidates.

As per party sources, no candidates from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have been announced in the first phase as Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will be conducted simultaneously there. 

“After receiving the reports of all the observers, the state election committee meeting of the party will be held on March 6. Subsequently, the list of the candidates will be sent to the Centre following approval,” said Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal.

As per sources, a list of the candidates in Odisha has been prepared in the same manner as the first phase. The party may change as many as seven candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha seats. Moreover, emphasis will be given to young and women candidates.

“The first phase of the candidates' list has been announced after the parliamentary board meetings of 16 states and two union territories. The BJP in the center is following a process with proper discipline. We have to keep patience and wait till the completion of the process,” said BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi.

Meanwhile, Congress and BJD have also started doing permutations and combinations for the announcement of their party candidates for the upcoming election. The first screening committee meeting of Congress has already been held in Delhi recently. The party candidates for Lok Sabha seats have almost been finalised in the meeting. The second phase screening committee meeting will be held on March 9 in which candidates for the Assembly elections will be finalised. Though the party had earlier announced that it would announce the names of as many as 70 candidates in March first week, it is buying time. 

“The name of our candidates will be announced after the second screening committee meeting to be held in Delhi on March 9,” said Congress senior leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD is facing a dilemma in selecting its candidates. The party has already announced that around 50 percent of the MLAs will be provided tickets. However, the party is facing a tough situation to select the rest of the candidates. The number of ticket aspirants is increasing with each passing day. Several aspiring candidates along with their supporters are making beeline outside Naveen Niwas to lobby for them.

“BJD is always ready to face election at any moment. BJD is a regional party and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the supremo of the party. We have nothing to do with the announcement of the list of the candidates in centre,” said BJD MLA Raj Kishore Das.