Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced the fourth list of party candidates for 41 assembly and seven Lok Sabha seats, dropping nine sitting MLAs and an MP. BJD has so far announced candidates for 111 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats out of the 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in the State.
Naveen chose to renominate rebel MLAs like Prabhat Biswal who had played a key role in the May 2012 ‘coup’ against him, which was allegedly engineered by Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. Prabhat Biswal was again renominated for Choudwar Cuttack. Earlier, Naveen had renominated Sarada Nayak for Rourkela assembly seat though Nayak was one of the conspirators of the 2012 coup.
A few prominent leaders among the names announced today are sitting Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, Bhadrak MP Arjun Sethi, Dhenkanal MP Tathagat Satpathy and Puri MP Pinaki Mishra. In Balasore, where the BJD in 2009 did not field a candidate, he nominated former corporate honcho Rabindra Jena, who worked at Balasore Alloys. In the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj constituency, he dropped sitting MP Laxman Tudu and nominated sitting MLA Ramchandra Hansda.
Naveen is yet to declare the candidates for Bhubaneswar, Jajpur, Keonjhar and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seats. For assembly election too, he is yet to decide on several key constituencies of Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur and Balasore Lok Sabha constituencies where former minister Prafulla Ghadei, former law minister Raghunath Mohanty and health minister Damodar Rout are expecting BJD nomination.
And also for the assembly elections, Naveen has retained most of the sitting MLAs including law and culture minister Maheswar Mohanty, Brahmagiri MLA Sanjay Dasverma, Pipili MLA Pradeep Maharathy, Chilika MLA Raghunath Sahoo, forest minister and Badamba MLA Devi Mishra, labour minister Bijoyshree Routray. Among the few MLAs dropped were Siddharth Singh of Khandapara assembly.
Incidentally, on Thursday Naveen recalled newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP A U Singhdeo to contest the Bolangir assembly seat in place of his political secretary Harekrishna Sarangi. Sarangi was given a BJD ticket 2 days ago. Naveen had to recall Singh Deo in the face of protest by his party workers. Soon after Sarangi was fielded from Bolangir, BJD led by Jyoti Panigrahy, former chairperson of state commission for women, staged dharna in front of the chief minister’s residence.
Two days ago, Naveen had to renominate nine-time MLA from V Sugnani Kumari Deo after party workers revolted against nomination of Latika Pradhan for the Kabisurya Nagar assembly seat of Ganjam district.