Party Hoppers, Ex-MLAs In BJP’s 2nd List For Odisha Assembly Polls; 2 Nominees Changed

Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Tuesday announced names of candidates for 21 more Assembly seats in Odisha.

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The saffron party has picked party hoppers, some old timers and former legislators like Dilip Ray, Surama Padhy, Padmacharan Haibru, Baidhar Mallick, Badhav Hansdah and Kailash Kulesika. It has also changed its candidates on two seats – Ranapur & Pottangi.

Ray, who has been in political hibernation since 2018, will contest from Rourkela Assembly segment. The Delhi High Court staying his conviction in a coal scam case had fuelled discussions in different circles about the former Rourkela legislator reviving his political career. His electoral entry is expected to raise the stakes in the high-voltage fight between ex-Union Minister Jual Oram and hockey star Dilip Tirkey for the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat. Ray, a three-time MLA and two-time Rajya Sabha member, is believed to have influence over the parliamentary seat. Being a businessman, he also has the wherewithal to gives tough time to the ruling BJD, of which he was a founder member till he fell out with Naveen Patnaik and was expelled from the regional outfit.

Speaking to media, 70-year-old Ray said that he is happy to have received the nomination. “I will ensure that the corporation election, pending for last 12 years, is held in Rourkela,” he added.

The party has reposed faith three more senior leaders – Surama Padhy, Baidhar Mallick and Padmacharan Haibru. Mallick, who had won from Nimapara in 2002 and 2004, has been fielded from Kakatpur Assembly seat. The party has given ticket to Haibru for third time from Karanjia, which he had won in 2000 as an independent candidate. Padhy has got the nod for Ranapur.

CHANGE IN NOMINEES

Padhy has been fielded for Ranapur, from where it had earlier announced Tapas Ranjan Martha as its MLA candidate. She had unsuccessfully contested the last 3 elections after winning the seat in 2004. The party, however, saw a signifiant improvement in its vote share in 2019 election when she lost to BJD’s Satyanarayana Pradhan by a slender margin of 4,251 votes.

The BJP has also changed its nominee for Pottangi, replacing Chaitanya Hantal with Chaitanya Nandibali, since it had earlier erroneously named a scheduled caste (SC) candidate for the seat reserved for scheduled tribe (ST).

TICKETS TO PARTY HOPPERS

Badhav Hansdah is the MLA candidate for Saraskana. He had won from this seat in 2014 on BJD ticket. Similarly, Kailash Kulesika, who had joined BJP three days ago after quitting BJD, will contest from Laxmipur, which he had won in 2014 on Congress ticket.

Amarendra Das, who switched sides from BJD to BJP after being denied ticket, has been fielded from Jagatsinghpur. Another BJD defector Dambaru Sisa has got ticket for Chitrakonda Assembly seat.

NEW FACES

Lalita Behera from Rajnagar and Narsingh Bhatra from Jharigam are two new faces in the list.

The saffron party had earlier announce 112 MLA candidates and nominees for all 21 Lok Sabha seats.

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