BJD MLA & candidate reveals how collector’s nod, money decide tickets

Bhubaneswar: With elections round the corner, the clamour for tickets has been a chaotic affair. Amid this chaos, BJD’s sitting MLA from Chhendipada, Sushant Kumar Behera, who has been retained by the party as candidate from the constituency has made some startling revelations.

In a video, which is doing rounds in social media, Behera is seen saying that for addition of a candidate’s name on the list, district collector’s nod and financial strength of an aspirant are key. The collector prepares a report of the candidate after taking inputs from the Block Development Officer (BDO) and other district officials and a survey is also done through NGOs.

Apart from that, industrialists play a significant role in finalising the list of candidates, Behera added.

“The collector gives a green signal for the candidates and about 5 to 10 organisations conduct surveys before making a final list,” Behera can be heard saying in the video.

Behera also said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary, V K Pandian, has already given responsibilities of different districts to different party leaders which include Pratap Jena, Debashish Samantaray, Boby Dash and Sanjay Das Burma.

Reports from the district observers and Intelligence Department are also taken into consideration for preparing the candidates’ list.

Behera also said that candidates with strong financial background are given preference and revealed how much funds are given to party leaders.

“Last time I had received Rs 60 lakh from the party in three phases and I spent Rs 22 lakh on the day of filing nominations,” Behera said in the video.

When contacted, Behera refused to comment on the matter.

On the other hand, Congress and BJP have strongly criticised the BJD following the revelations made by Behera in the video.

“Their party leaders are now accepting that with inputs from Intelligence department and collectors, party tickets are being given. The video is substantial proof,” BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said.

Congress Media Cell Chairman Satya Prakash Nayak said, “This video clearly exposes how candidates are given tickets in BJD.”

In response to the video, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, “Till the time Behera does not clarify about the authenticity of the video how can BJD comment on the issue.”