Elections 2019: Parties in Odisha gearing up for ticket distribution

Bhubaneswar: Amid speculations of ‘early’ elections, political parties in the state are on their toes and have begun spadework to select candidates.

While the Odisha Congress is all set to announce the names of at least 50 candidates by August 31, the ruling BJD and the BJP are also getting battle ready.

Out of the three major parties, candidate selection is considered to pose a major headache for the ruling-BJD which could face anti-incumbency. As the leadership is zeroing in on candidates taking into account the internal survey and party’s equations, chances are quite high that party MLAs who are involved in corruption, have not actively executed party’s agenda and have lost popularity could be shown the door, informed sources.

Amid such a backdrop, talks are doing rounds that the party leadership is worried as the list of such MLAs is quite long.

Sources said that after finalisation of the candidates, the party leadership could direct them to begin groundwork in their designated constituencies as early as September first or second week. However, the party denied commenting on the matter.

“Since we are the ruling party, we cannot disclose the details at this moment. Only party president Naveen Patnaik will make the final announcement,” BJD Spokesperson, Debasish Samantaray said.

On the other hand, BJP which has been flexing its muscles for the elections since last year has also shortlisted as many as 60 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections. But the main concerns for the saffron party are internal feud and absence of adequate number of winnable candidates.

“Candidate selection is being carried out on the basis of public perception, survey data and other factors and we will finalise the tickets soon,” said Odisha BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.

Similarly, Congress which has recently hogged the limelight for its resurgence under the new leadership of Niranjan Patnaik has been the most active party. Ticket selection process for the party is already in full swing and could be over by the end of August. Speculations are doing rounds that the party is declaring candidates early to prevent its leaders from jumping the fence.

“We are aiming to announce the first list of 50 Assembly candidates soon after party’s election committee finalises them,” said Odisha Congress chief, Niranjan Patnaik.

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