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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of general elections beginning April 11, BJD seems to have got the double whammy. Not only disgruntled leaders are leaving the party in hordes, but the serious challenge staring at the party is the rise in dissidence within the party units across the State over selection of candidates giving the party the worst nightmares ahead of April polls.

Resentment has surfaced in the party unit in Kantamal Assembly segment of Boudh district where leaders and workers have now come out against the decision of the party leadership to field Mahidhar Rana as the candidate for the upcoming election.

Alleging that the newly selected candidate Rana has done nothing for the development of the party unit in the constituency, several workers and leaders of the ruling party staged demonstration by burning tyres and posters.

All workers of the party are unhappy about the candidate selection. Despite informing about the corruption going on within the party unit under the current MLA and our disagreement over the choice of candidate, Rana was granted the ticket. Which is why we have decided to field an independent candidate from the seat.

- Sankarsan Pradhan, former BJD block chairman.

In Gajapati district, infighting within the party unit has also come to fore in Mohana Assembly constituency. While Basanti Mallick was elected as the legislator from the BJD ticket during 2014 elections, she along with local leaders Antaryami Gamang and Amsan Mallick were also in the fray to grab the party ticket for the 2019 polls this time. However, much to the disatisfaction of all, the party leadership granted ticket to Purnabasi Nayak of Rayagada block.

Disatisfied with the candidate selection, the Kui Kandha Development Council and several other organisations have decided to field Amsan Mallick as an indepedent candidate in the upcoming polls.

"I was interested to contest in BJD ticket for Mohana seat with the support of my party workers but since they did not select me, I will fight as an independent candidate," said Mallick.

Similarly, resentment in the party unit has also hit fever pitch in Brahmagiri Assembly segment after two local leaders Krushna Chandra Ray and Prasanna Kumar Baral were expelled from the party for lobbying against MLA Sanjay Das Burma.

Terming the ouster as completely undemocratic, workers of the party burnt effigies of party supremo and CM Naveen Patnaik and MLA Sanjay Das Burma at Gop chhak.

"Since we have been expelled from the party, we will take strong steps in coming days so that the party supremo and the MLA would realise," said Prasanna Kumar Baral.

Meanwhile, accepting the reports of resentment within the party, BJD spokesperson Arun Sahu today said, "BJD is the largest political party in the State and a lot of candidates were interested to contest from the party. But ticket can be granted to a single candidate. So reports of dissent are normal."

Sahu added that efforts are on to appease the dissidence within the party.

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