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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: After seeking 33 percent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and Parliament, all eyes are now on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on how far it will follow its own idea while distributing party tickets for the upcoming general elections.

According to party sources, BJD is planning to field nearly 21 to 25 women candidates in the upcoming general elections. The party is considering giving tickets to at least one woman candidate in each parliamentary constituency region. Nonetheless, the party is leaving no stone unturned to woo women voters through several initiatives.

During the 2014 general elections, BJD had given tickets to 14 women candidates out of which 10 of them had come out with flying colours. Later, BJD candidate Rita Sahu had won during Bijepur by-election. Similarly, BJP had fielded 10 women candidates out of which only one candidate Radharani Panda had won. On the other hand, Congress had given tickets to 8 women candidates; however, none of them could win from their respective constituencies.

"Party president Naveen babu will take the decision on fielding women candidates. Eligible women candidates will definitely get party tickets," said BJD MLA, Debashish Nayak.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties have criticised BJD for trying to woo women with misleading campaigns and asked the party to first provide 33% reservation to women.

"This is BJD's poll gimmick and that is how they are ruling the State for last 18 years. Our party will definitely provide 33% reservation to women," Mahila Congress President, Sumitra Jena said.

"First they (BJD) should implement 33% reservation in their party. It's ironic that the party which can’t even show respect to women is speaking of reservation," BJP Secretary, Lekhashree Samantsinghar said.

Out of the 3,18, 00,000 voters in Odisha, nearly 1, 54,60,000 are women.

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