Odisha Polls 2019: BJD changes ticket allotment strategy

Bhubaneswar: Drawing lessons from the bitter experience following discontent among party leaders and workers soon after the announcement of candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies going to polls in the first and second phases, it seems that the ruling-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been forced to change its ticket allotment strategy.

While announcing its candidates for the constituencies going to polls in the third phase, the BJD has played it safe by retaining many sitting MLAs. However, senior party leaders claimed that tickets were issued based on the survey reports and not due to fear of rebellion.

“All the candidates have been given tickets by party supremo Naveen Patnaik based on survey reports,” said School and Mass Education Minister, Badri Narayan Patra.

Yesterday, the party fielded new faces in the form of Anubhav Mohanty, Arup Patnaik, Sarmistha Sethi, Manjulata Mandal and Debasish Marandi for Lok Sabha seats. However, the party played safe by retaining 25 candidates in 36 Assembly seats for which the candidates were announced yesterday. Despite growing resentment against sitting MLAs, the party has retained several leaders apprehending that they may spoil the prospects of new candidates in their respective constituencies.

Although BJD has replaced several chit fund scam-tainted sitting MLAs, it has tried to pacify them by offering tickets to their sons or wives. Banki MLA Pravat Tripathy’s son, Debi Prasanna Tripathy, Cuttack-Choudwar MLA’s son, Souvik Biswal and senior Minister Bijayshree Routray’s son, Bishnubrata Routray will contest the upcoming polls on BJD tickets.

“I am grateful to CM Naveen Patnaik today. I don’t think there will be any problem as father’s organisation is strong,” said Soubik Biswal, BJD candidate from Cuttack-Choudwar Assembly constituency.

For Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat, BJD has fielded Dhamnagar MLA Muktikant Mandal’s wife Manjulata Mandal.