Odisha Elections 2019: BJD may pitch new faces in Phase-1

Bhubaneswar: The problem of plenty has started to haunt the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha, at least to some extent, with the party reflecting on giving a chance to new faces in the four segments going to the polls in the first phase on April 11.

Odisha will witness Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously in four phases — April 11, 18, 23 and 29, and the first phase polls will be held in constituencies of Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur and Koraput.

The calculations, or perhaps the miscalculations and infighting in the party, have been evident quite a few times after leaders from other parties joined the ruling-BJD. Offering tickets to new aspirants seems a gamble that BJD is playing and this, for sure, has made things difficult for the sitting MPs and MLAs in the concerned constituencies.

As per party insiders, there is every likelihood that the BJD will pitch new candidates this time in the four Lok Sabha (LS) constituencies- Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur and Koraput besides ten Assembly constituencies going to the polls in Phase-1.

Of the 28 assembly seats in the first phase, 20 are in BJD’s hinges while 10 of them will not be given tickets this time. The probables include- Berhampur MLA, Chatrapur MLA, Mohana MLA, Gunupur MLA, Pottangi MLA, Malkangiri MLA, Chitrakonda MLA, Lanjigarh MLA, Narla MLA and Bhawanipatna MLA, sources added.

With more than a dozen ticket aspirants lining up for the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies, the process of identifying potential contenders will certainly pose a big challenge for Naveen Patnaik this time.

Asked about the candidate selection criteria and the abundance of ticket aspirants in BJD, the party supremo stated that ‘winnability’ is the sole criterion for selection of party candidates.

Patnaik added that the party will soon come out with the candidate list for the first phase of the polls, further clarifying that BJD will contest the upcoming elections on its own without any alliance.