Fearing revolt, Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday sprang a few surprises as he renominated most of the sitting MLAs, including Sarada Nayak who had played a major role in the May 2012 coup against his leadership. He also surprised everyone by getting former India hockey captain Dilip Tirkey to contest from Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat.
Of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 Assembly seats going to the polls next month, BJD named candidates for five Lok Sabha seats and 30 Assembly constituencies. The first list featured Naveen, who would seek re-election from Hinjilcut Assembly seat for the fourth time.
Tirkey (36), who in 2012 was made Rajya Sabha MP by BJD, is now pitted against BJP candidate and former Union minister Jual Oram. With 400 internationals behind him, Tirkey is the most capped hockey player in the world.
In Kalahandi, BJD nominated Arka Keshari Deo, son of late BJP MP and Kalahandi royalty Bikram Keshari Deo, against sitting Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das. In Bolangir, Naveen renominated another member of royal family and sitting MP Kaliksh Singh Deo. In Berhampur, he has fielded sitting MP and cinestar Siddhant Mohapatra. The only surprise was Ladukishore Swain from Aska, where Patnaik’s nephew Arun was rumoured to contest.
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Of the 70 Assembly seats going to the polls in the first phase on April 10, Naveen could named candidates for only 30. Most of the ministers have been renominated including Suryo Patro, Usha Devi, Subrat Tarai. In Titlagarh seat in Bolangir, Naveen has nominated Geeta Sahu, widow of slain BJD leader Abhimanyu Sahu.
The key absence in the first list was nine time MLA V Sugyani Kumari Deo, who has been winning in a row since 1961.
Naveen ‘too busy’ to meet Bardhan, BJD-CPI alliance unlikely this time
A CPI alliance with BJD in Orissa is not likely to happen, with BJD chief Naveen Patnaik refusing to meet CPI politburo member A B Bardhan over seat sharing. Bardhan, who arrived in Bhubaneswar to attend a meeting, with party officials said he was willing to speak to Naveen for seats sharing in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. In 2009, BJD had left Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seat and 5 Assembly seats to CPI. Bardhan said he didn’t get any appointment with Naveen. Sources in Naveen Niwas said the CM was “too busy” deciding the first list of BJD candidates. ENS