Himansu Shekhar Rout

Two weeks after election dates were announced, the three major political parties in Odisha like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress have not completed the announcement of the names of their candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. 

The BJP has not yet announced candidates for 147 Assembly seats while the BJD is yet to nominate candidates for six more LS and 75 more Assembly seats. The Congress has not at all come out with its lists of candidates for LS and Assembly seats. 

In certain seats, the three parties have adopted a wait-and-watch policy, though they say that their candidates have been selected. 

As the ruling party is allegedly delaying the announcement of its candidates for all seats, disgruntled leaders including MPs, MLAs and frontline leaders are deserting the party. Meanwhile, most of them have joined the BJP. 

A day after former MLA Priyadarshi Mishra joined the BJP, former Korei MLA and actor Akash Das Nayak, who had left the party yesterday, joined the BJP on Sunday. Kendrapara MP Anubhav Mohanty deserted the party on Saturday.  

Former MLA Akash Das Nayak said, ”A lot of work has to be done. We have come to put up a fight for ‘swabhiman for Maa and Mati, and for a greater cause.’ I have joined the BJP to fight for Odia Asmita(pride).  

On the other hand, the BJD supremo is said to be fretting over the ongoing exodus of the leaders. It is said that the ruling party will announce the names of its remaining candidates after the BJP comes out with its list of candidates.

The BJD has assessed the situation in nine out of 28 Assembly seats which will go to polls in the first phase. But the names of the candidates have not been announced. In certain Assembly seats, dissension is so high that the leaders of various factions are being invited to Naveen Niwas where they are being convinced of the need for reconciliation.

Though the BJP has named its candidates for all the 21 Lok Sabha seats, it has hung its decision on the Assembly seats amid reports that the names of 100 candidates have been finalized.

The Congress, which had earlier said to announce the names of 60 candidates in the first week of March, has delayed the process. 

Targetting the BJP for delaying the announcement of its candidates, BJD MP(RS) Sasmit Patra said, ”They(BJP) say they will fight in 147 Assembly seats, but they are not getting candidates for these seats.” 

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BJP leader Samir Mohanty said, ”It is BJP’s affair and it depends on us when we will announce the names of our candidates. We don’t expect certificates from others. The BJP is going to field its candidates who are tough enough to end the rule of the inefficient government.” 

PCC President Sarat Pattanayak said, ”We have discussed the candidature issue with the party’s Odisha in-charge Ajoy Kumar and names will be declared soon.”

(By Odisha TV Bureau)