Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has been holding the reigns of governance for 22 years in Odisha, seems to be staring at a tough year ahead, particularly in Ganjam district.

With the next general elections just around a year away, rift in Ganjam BJD have only widened, putting the party’s prospects in jeopardy for 2024.

From Aska to Digapahandi to Chhatrapur, infightings have become so pervasive that party leaders are not even trying to keep it under wraps. If Chhatrapur is taken into consideration, BJD leader and Deputy Chairman of Chhatrapur NAC, Laxmi Padhi has opened a front against the sitting MLA from BJD, Subash Behera.

Padhi had recently called a huge congregation of his supporters to create public opinion against Behera. “This is Subash Hatao, BJD Banchao Samavesh. BJD is in danger in Chhatrapur. If Behera is not ousted, BJD will be in trouble,” he said.

Behera on the other hand termed Padhi as an anti social. “As far as I know, Laxmi Padhi is a wicked man. He never worked for BJD’s development. I have already attracted the attention of district president Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik,” said Behera.

Going ahead in the district towards Digapahandi, seven-time MLA Surjya Narayan Patro seems to be in trouble in his own Constituency. While he is struggling with health problems, his son, Biplab Patro has been projected to take the reins from him in the next elections.

However, former Block Chairman of Digapahandi, Bipin Chandra Pradhan has appeared to be the hurdle.

“Giving ticket to the same family that enjoyed 35 years in power is not right. I am the rightful alternative to the Patro family,” said, Pradhan.

BJD infighting seems very deep in Aska Assembly Constituency, where local BJD leader Bhabani Shankar Mallik has brought dictatorship allegations against the son of sitting BJD MLA, Manjula Swain.

So much so that, Mallik has even formed a ‘Maa Pua Hatao, Aska Banchao’ front to oust Manjula Swain and her son Nachiketa Swain from the BJD.

“We are against the mother-son duo and their corrupt practices. This protest will end with the results in 2024 elections,” said Mallik.

Replying to Mallik, Nachiketa Swain said, “Some people are trying to create fissures in the party for their vested interests. The party will never entertain them.”

As per reports, out of the 13 Assembly Constituencies of Ganjam, the BJD is grappling with infighting in a majority of them.

However, BJD’s district president Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik asserted that everything will fall in place before the elections. “Difference in opinion is natural in a Democracy like India. I will speak with our observer Pradeep Kumar Amat and sort everything out before elections,” said Chyau Patnaik.

With infighting within BJD out in the open, it remains to be seen if the Opposition BJP and Congress will be able to take advantage of it.

(Reported By Ashok Brahma, OTV)