Himansu Shekhar Rout

The leaders, who were given party tickets in the first phase, are now rest assured, but those waiting for the next announcement are allegedly getting jittery.

Many ticket aspirants have started lobbying at Naveen Niwas (Odisha CM & BJD president Naveen Patnaik's residence) along with their supporters. Some even held one-to-one meetings with party supremo Naveen Patnaik. 

BJD’s ticket hopefuls including Priyadarshi Mishra, Akash Das Nayak and Chinmaya Sahoo were called to the Naveen Niwas on Thursday. Though they did not comment on their visit, discussions regarding party tickets can’t be ruled out.  

As per reports, the BJD has repeated 65 of the 72 candidates in the first phase while speculation is rife that the party may spring a surprise by announcing more new faces in the next list of Assembly candidates. 

Observers are keeping a close watch on the political fate of Barchana MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy and Anandapur MLA Bhagirathi Sethi. Many are sceptical of their candidature this time. Meanwhile, both the leaders met the Chief Minister on Thursday. 

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The BJD has not repeated Dhenkanal MP Mahesh Sahoo this time and a new face was given a chance instead. People in the district speculate that Sahoo may get an Assembly ticket this time.  

On the other hand, the BJD is battling acute infighting in the Ekamra, Bhubaneswar Central and Bhubaneswar North Assembly seats. Hence, three incumbent MLAs are in doubt over their political fate. 

In the Paradip seat, the political equation in the BJD organisation is said to have turned topsy-turvy after Congress leader Bapi Sarkhel’s wife Monideepa joined the ruling party at a time when a section of the party revolted against the incumbent MLA Sambit Routray.   

BJD leader Amar Satpathy said, “We will abide by whatever decision is taken by the party. I cannot say anything about the announcement of names.”

Anandpur MLA Bhagirathi Sethi said, "We will support and fight for whoever is chosen by the Chief Minister.” 
Interestingly, BJP leader Jayaram Pangi’s son, Ashok Pangi along with his supporters has reportedly lobbied for a party ticket before the Chief Minister.

Ashok Pangi said, "My father Jayaram Pangi has left the BJD for another party. But I have not deserted the BJD. I hope to get a BJD ticket for the Pottangi Assembly seat.” 

Amid this, political observers say that the old faces have been repeated to ward off the fury of the rebels.  

Senior Journalist Rabi Das said, "It is known that the party is somewhat fearful of the rebels. The party has to change the leaders having negative feedback. Those who are replaced with new leaders may turn into rebels. After the announcement of names, the contours of revolt may be known.”

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