Royal Challenge: Pratyusha, Arka raise revolt banner post ticket denial

....Pratyusha dares to contest against BJD candidates while Arka says he sent his resignation letter to Party supremo

Bhubaneswar: The rebellion over party ticket distribution in BJD scaled a ‘royal’ high. A royal challenge staring at the party as two of its prominent sitting MPs with royal lineage have raised a banner of revolt after being denied tickets. BJD had fielded 11 royals, including 3 in Lok Sabha, in 2014.

While sitting BJD Kandhamal MP Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh replaced by Achyuta Samanta in 2019 polls has dropped enough hints of open rebellion if denied nomination from Nayagarh, another royal descendant from Kalahandi and the sitting Kalahandi MP Arka Keshari Deo, who happens to be son of Vikram Kesari Deo, a former BJP MP, has openly disapproved the party’s decision to deny him ticket.

When Pratyusha said “I want to contest from Nayagarh Assembly Constituency and if denied, I will contest as an independent or from any other party,” Arka Deo told OTV that BJD is giving ticket to anti-party people and new entrants. “I have sent my resignation letter, it’s for the party to decide,” he added.

But Pratyusha’s demand raises more eyebrows as Nayagarh Assembly seat is currently represented by powerful BJD leader Arun Sahoo, one among the BJD triumvirate of Pranab Prakash Das and Sanjay Das Burma.

Significantly, late Hemendra Chandra Singh, husband of Pratyusha Singh, had fought as an independent against Arun Sahoo in Nayagarh in 2009 polls. Singh received over 32 per cent of votes vis-a-vis 54 per cent by Arun Sahoo. Arun Sahoo is holding BJD’s fort in Nayagarh since 2004. Hemendra later joined Congress. He, however, joined BJD in 2014 and won the Kandhamal MP on BJD ticket. Pratyusha won the by-election held from Kandhamal following demise of Hemendra Singh. Pratyusha was an aspirant from Kandhamal LS in 2019.

An analysis of Kandhamal LS seat reveals that BJD has never re-nominated the incumbent MP from Kandhamal LS constituency. Sugrib Ray won the Kandhamal LS as BJD candidate by a margin of over 3.18lakh votes in 2004, when BJD had an alliance with BJP. BJD pitted Rudra Madhav Ray as its candidate in 2009 and won by a margin of over 1.6lakh votes. In 2009, BJD had no alliance with BJP. Post importing Hemendra Singh from Congress, BJD fielded Singh as LS candidate from Kandhamal and won by a margin of over 1.8lakh votes. Pratyusha fought the by-election as BJD candidate following the demise of her husband Hemendra Singh and won by a margin of over 2.9 lakh votes. Maintaining the trend, BJD has nominated Achyuta Samanta as LS candidate from Kandhamal in 2019 general elections. Political observers read Pratyusha’s statement as only stopping short of calling it quits from BJD, as replacing Arun Sahoo is simply next to impossible.

In fact, upset over being denied tickets, BJD has already seen some more casualties today with Kusum Tete and Narayan Rao resigning from the party. Meanwhile, sitting BJD Daspalla MLA  Purna Chandra Nayak, who was  replaced by Ramesh Behera , also hinted at resigning from the BJD. However, sitting Aska MLA Debraj Mohanty replaced by Pramila Swain, wife of MP Late Ladu Swain, has also come forward to express his displeasure.