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Pradeep Pattanayak

With the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) choosing new faces over senior leaders for the Deputy Mayor post in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Cuttack Municipal Corporations, one thing is evident that the conch party is giving priority to young leaders. 

While the party played ‘slum’ and ‘woman’ card in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, it dashed the hopes of several senior leaders to the ground by picking up new corporator Vivek Reddy for the Deputy Mayor seat in Berhampur. 

It is also being discussed in the political circles that the party made a woman as the Deputy Mayor of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) only to nullify the clout of male corporators. 

And now even though many disgruntled corporators are not opposing the party high command’s decision in the open, it seems resentment is smouldering among them. 

“Since we are disciplined workers, we have been loyal to the party,” said Pralaya Behera, a corportaor of CMC. 

“Our Chief Minister has always been giving priority to such leaders who are easily accessible and can fight for the rights of common people. With regards to difference of opinion, it occurs in our family as well. Such matter holds no importance in our party,” said Cuttack-Choudwar MLA Souvik Biswal. 

When asked, Bhubaneswar Central MLA Ananta Narayan Jena said, "BJD is a big regional party and we are ready to do whatever roles are offered to us."

Notably, on the occasion of its foundation day recently, BJD sent out a message to its workers that the party is preparing a strategy for the next 50 years. This is said to have given credence to the discussion that the recent selection of new faces is a part of that strategy.  

At the same time, the political analysts are of the opinion that the party is very likely to implement the experiment it had tried in the urban and rural polls in the upcoming 2024 general elections as well. 

However, the increasing number of disgruntled senior leaders being continuously sidelined threatens to emerge as a big challenge for the BJD. 

“The party seems to be taking up a new path by introducing new faces. To see it resultant impact, we have to wait. Because it is wrong to think that the disappointed leaders would remain silent forever,” said political analyst Prasanna Mohanty. 

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