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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: After high drama in Anandapur constituency where BJP’s candidate Bhagirathi Sethi ditched the saffron party at the very last moment to join BJD, the ruling party in the State has once again played a hijack game to rope in BJP’s Kakatpur MLA candidate.

Even though the BJP had nominated Tusharkanti Behera as its party candidate from Kakatpur Assembly segment, shockingly, Behera quit the saffron party to join BJD today, just hours after the ruling party announced candidate for the constituency. It is believed that just like in Anandpur, where the BJD allotted ticket to Bhagirathi Sethi immediately after his induction, the ruling party will apply the same formula to name Tusharkanti Behera as their new candidate instead of MLA Surendra Sethi whom the party has already nominated from the seat.

It may be noted that BJD had granted ticket to BJP’s aspirant in Bari Assembly constituency, Sunanda Das, a few hours after she quit the saffron party for being denied ticket. BJP’s MLA aspirant from Morada, Rajkishore Das also quit the saffron party to join BJD at the very last moment before being given ticket.

A day after BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took a dig at the BJP alleging that it is struggling to find candidates to field for the upcoming polls, the saffron party today hit back at CM Naveen and said that the narrative is more applicable to the ruling party.

Yesterday, CM Naveen had said, “I know that the BJP is scouting for their candidates outside the BJD office.”

In response to Naveen’s statements, the BJP claimed that the ruling party is trying to poach its candidates since it is not able to get good candidates.

“Naveen babu’s leadership is waning and the workers of the party do not trust him any more. The ruling party is trying to mislead strong candidates by taking them from our party. It shows how the earth beneath Naveen babu’s feet is collapsing,” said State BJP Vice President, Samir Mohanty.

On the other hand, as the date of the elections are inching closer, dissidence over alleged lapses in ticket distribution continues to pile more worries for the BJD. Incidents of rift between party factions and fissures within the organisation continue to surface. Supporters of Shashi Bhusan Behera today staged a demonstration in front of Naveen Niwas protesting non-allotment of ticket to the finance minister. Several panchayat representatives of Cuttack demanded change in candidature of Chandrasarathy Behera. Similarly, after Priyadarshi Mishra was denied ticket from Bhubaneswar-North, his suporters also protested the decision. In Khandapada constituency, where the BJD has fielded Rajya Sabha member Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, supporters of MLA Anubhav Patnaik have threatened to field the latter as an independent candidate from the constituency.

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