Vikash Sharma

Odisha is witnessing such a situation that was never experienced before any crucial election in the past. With merely 10 days left for the nomination process for the first phase of the 2024 elections, major political parties, including the BJP, the BJD and the Congress, are yet to announce their full list of candidates for all the 147 Assembly seats in the state.

The first phase election will be held in Odisha on May 13 and the nomination process is scheduled to start from April 18, 2024. Though BJP has announced the names of candidates for all the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha and candidates for 112 Assembly seats out of total 147, the party is yet to nominate candidates for the remaining 35 seats.

The ruling-BJD is yet to nominate its candidate for the Balasore Lok Sabha seat. The party seems to be struggling to pick candidates for 39 Assembly seats. With both BJD and BJP adopting a wait-and-watch policy and pinning hopes on leaders switching camps, the Congress seems to be struggling to finalise the names of candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats.

So far, the Congress has announced the names of candidates for 8 Lok Sabha and 47 Assembly seats. The grand old party is yet to announce its list of candidates for another 13 Lok Sabha and 100 Assembly seats.

Why Delay In Declaration Of Candidates?

Senior journalist, Sandip Mishra said both BJP and BJD are worried of rebels. The Congress is eying other leaders who will quit BJD and BJP camps.

“Such a situation was never witnessed in Odisha history. The candidates are showing their strength at Naveen Niwas, the official residence of BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with the hope of getting a ticket. Similarly, the BJP, which is said to be the most disciplined unit, is also witnessing a series of rebellions and show of strength by ticket aspirants at the party headquarters,” said Mishra.

According to Mishra, for a party winability is always the criteria to pick a candidate. In the past also leaders had quit their own parties and joined rival groups and contested polls.

“However, it doesn’t seem to be a cakewalk for the ruling BJD this time around as it seems to be dependent on leaders and candidates from other parties as there is anti-incumbency against their own leaders. It is suspected that a reshuffle of leaders switching camps is also creating confusion in the minds of people and workers as well,” Mishra added.