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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: With the bypoll to three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha just round the corner, the biggest challenge for the ruling-BJD is now to rehabilitate its aspiring leaders.

After sending three leaders to Rajya Sabha next month, the BJD will again have a chance next year when four more RS seats will fall vacant. So, the party may avoid dissidence by convincing some leaders with the promise of a Rajya Sabha berth in 2020.

However, speculations are rife that the BJD may face fresh dissidence if it fails to properly rehabilitate and convince party leaders as the party has a long list of aspirants.

While BJD leaders like Maheswar Mohanty, Sanjay Das Burma, Debasish Samantray, Puspendra Singh Deo and Kalikesh Singh Deo failed to get public mandate in the 2019 polls, leaders from western Odisha like Prabhas Singh, Anup Sai and Nagendra Pradhan were denied tickets.

Besides, former Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani and ex-MLA Ramesh Chandra Chaupatnaik, who were denied tickets, are on the top of the list as they were promised RS berth prior to the polls.

Moreover, rumours are doing rounds that the ruling-BJD might create some new posts in State Planning Board, Western Odisha Development Council, Odisha State Housing Board and other such departments to rehabilitate its leaders.

On the rehabilitation issue, BJD leader and former MLA Jogesh Singh said that a leader never needs power and position to serve people and he will continue to work for people. "A leader is always a leader. We will accept whatever decision the CM takes," he added.

Party's former MP Kaliskesh said, "I have repeatedly said this and reiterating it again - these decisions are to be taken by the Chief Minister."

The State Rural Development Minister Sushant Singh expressed confidence on the CM saying, "The CM will definitely rehabilitate the leaders."

On who could be the CM's choice for the president post of Western Odisha Development Council, Singh said that the decision solely lies with CM Naveen and he will pick the appropriate candidate for the top post.

On the other hand, some believe that the selection of candidates for the RS seat will be influenced by 'coterie' in the ruling-BJD and the lobbying before the same has begun.

As it's possible for some leaders to reach out to CM Naveen and lobby, they are also approaching this coterie group to lobby for them, said senior journalist, Rabi Das.

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