Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday released a fresh list of candidates for nine Lok Sabha and 36 assembly seats, where the BJD continues to bank on fresh faces over long term parliamentary incumbents.
The regional party is in its 19th year of power in Odisha. In 2014, it had won 20 of 21 Lok Sabha seats.
In Bhubaneswar, BJD has decided to back former Mumbai Police Commissioner and IPS officer Arup Patnaik against BJP’s candidate and former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi. Both candidates will be contesting their first election.
According to sources in BJD, the party has dropped Bhubaneswar’s incumbent MP Prasanna Pathsani assuring him of a Rajya Sabha Seat.
BJD has picked Odiya cinema star and Rajya Sabha MP Anubhav Mohanty to take on Baijayant Panda, the former Kendrapara MP who recently joined BJP.
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Kendrapara, known as Biju Patnaik’s bastion, is a high stakes seat for BJD. Panda, who has been elected twice from Kendrapara on a BJD ticket, has to now prove he can win under BJP’s symbol.
BJD has fielded new faces – Rajashree Mallick (Jagatsinghpur), Debashish Marandi (Mayurbhanj), Sarmishtha Sethi (Jajpur), Nalini Kanta Pradhan (Sambalpur) and Manjulata Mandal (Bhadrak).
Overall, three more women find places in the nine Lok Sabha candidacies, as per BJD’s promise of allocating 33 per cent tickets to women candidates.
BJD has backed only two incumbents- Pinaki Mishra in Puri and Balasore’s Rabindra Jena in Balasore. Puri, which was under speculation as a possible seat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being contested by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
In assembly seats, BJD has relied more on tried and tested leaders. Some prominent faces in the assembly list are Pratap Deb (Aul), Badri Patra (Ghasipura), Pratap Jena (Mahanga), Ananta Das (Bhograi), Ashok Panda (Ekamra-Bhubaneswar), Prafulla Samal (Bhandaripokhar), Arun Sahoo (Nayagarh), Atanu Nayak (Mahakalpada), Bed Prakash Agarwal (Patkura) and Sanjay Kumar Das Burma (Brahmagiri).