BJD Swaps Candidates, Picks Sons Of Veteran Leaders For Assembly Polls In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday released its first list of candidates for 2024 elections in Odisha.

There are 13 new faces among the 72 MLA candidates from 23 districts announced by party president Naveen Patnaik. Among them are Sanjay Das from Dhamnagar and Sujata Sahu, president of the Jajpur district Mission Shakti Federation, from Jajpur. After the successful experiment with Pramila Bisoyi in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party seems to have again given ticket to Sujata to project the success of the mission.

Fifty-year-old Sujata had served as the chairperson of Dasarathapur block in the district from 2017 to 2022.

Besides Sujata, the list includes 11 more women.

While several MLA candidates have been repeated, 18 among them have won at least 3 times. The list also includes veterans like Ranendra Pratap Swain, who has won 7 times, Debi Misra, Bikram Arukh, Pramila Mallick, Niranjan Pujari, and Arun Sahoo have won 5 or more times and four-time MLAs Atanu Sabyasachi and Pratap Deb.

Sitting MLAs of Basta and Patkura, Nityananda Sahoo and Sabitri Agarwalla, have also been dropped and replaced by Arabinda Mohapatra, son of former minister and senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra, and Subhasini Jena, respectively.

The BJD has also swapped candidates in some constituencies. Sanjib Kumar Mallick, who had won the 2019 election from Bhadrak, will contest from Bhandaripokhari. Three-time MLA from Bhandaripokhari Prafulla Samal has instead been fielded from Bhadrak.

Similarly, sitting MLA from Satyabadi Umakanta Samantaray has been shifted to Brahmagiri, where Sanjay Das Burma had lost the 2019 elections to BJP’s Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra by over 2,000 votes. Sanjay Das Burma will contest from Satyabadi this time as was being anticipated.

The party has fielded sons of two veteran leaders to cash in on a possible sympathy wave created by their death. Biplab Patro, son of former speaker Surjya Narayan Patro, will contest from Digapahandi, and Sunil Mohanty, son of former MLA Maheswar Mohanty, from Puri Sadar, which is currently being represented by BJP.

Similarly, the party has nominated Chinmayananda Srirup Deb, son of sitting MLA Usha Devi, from Chikiti.

Kalikesh Singh Deo, who was earlier an MP, has been fielded from an assembly constituency this time.

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