Odisha Polls 2019: BJP pulls ahead of rivals in ticket allotment

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have initially delayed its ticket announcement for the upcoming polls, but the candidate selection on a war footing has helped it pull ahead of its rival parties in Odisha.

With the announcement of candidates late on Friday night, the saffron party has now finalised the tickets for 15 Lok Sabha and 121 Assembly constituencies in Odisha.

All the 22 candidates allotted seats during the second phase selection are new faces while, so far, out of the total 147 seats, candidates have been confirmed in 121 segments. In both the selection phases, the party has allotted a total of 10 seats to women candidates.

However, among the 35 Assembly segments going to polls in the second phase, the BJP is yet to declare its candidates for two constituencies- Hinjili and Bijepur, from where CM Naveen is contesting polls this time.

On Friday late night, the saffron party announced the names of candidates for 5 Lok Sabha seats which includes party national spokesperson Sambit Patra (Puri), Suresh Pujari (Bargarh) and Odisha BJP chief Basant Panda from Kalahandi parliamentary segment.

Kandhamal MP and former BJD leader Pratyusha Rajeswari joined the saffron party today when speculations were rife that she might join the Congress. Even as it is still unclear whether the saffron party would field Pratyusha from Kandhamal or Nayagarh, the sitting MP has clarified that she may not contest the elections.

Amid all this development, as induction of new faces continues to strengthen the party, a few incidents of resentment also come to hit the party from several corners of the State.

Supporters of aspirant for Bhubaneswar Ekamra seat Amiya Das continued to stage protest for the second day today in front of the party headquarters in Bhubaneswar. Dissidence against selection of candidates in seats of Jeypore, Basudevpur, Khariar, Gunupur Assembly seats along with Kalahandi and Bargarh Lok Sabha seats has also raised its ugly head within the party.

However, State BJP chief Basant Panda played down the incidents of protests in the party saying, “In democracy, people are free to express their feelings and at places where there are dissidences, we can discuss and solve the problems.”