Odisha Elections 2024: BJD Sets Stage For High-Profile Lok Sabha Battles With Its 1st List

Bhubaneswar: The BJD has set the stage for intense electoral battles by announcing some high-profile MP candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Odisha in its first list.

It has revealed names of 9 of 21 Lok Sabha constituency, which will go to polls in four phases on May 13, 20, 25 and June 1.

BJD’s organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das, popularly known as Bobby, is pitted against Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. He is a two-time MLA from Jajpur Assembly seat. Dharmendra, on the other hand, will be contesting direct election after 15 years and first time after becoming a Union Minister in 2014.

Revenue minister Sudam Marndi is another heavyweight leader whom the regional party has nominated from Mayurbhanj.The former president of the Odisha unit of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) had won from the seat in 2004 before joining the BJD in 2014. He represented Bangriposi constituency in 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly. Marndi will take on Naba Charan Majhi of BJP.

The BJD has nominated Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey from Sundargarh. The former Rajya Sabha member had unsuccessfully fought the LS poll from the same seat in 2014. He will again be crossing swords with BJP’s Jual Oram this time.

Pradeep Kumar Majhi is back in his Nabarangpur constituency albeit on a BJD ticket, replacing sitting MP Ramesh Chandra Majhi. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Nabarangpur in 2009 as a Congress candidate. However, he lost in both 2019 and 2014. He joined BJD in 2021 after quitting Congress. He is pitted against Balabhadra Majhi from whom he had lost in 2014 elections by around 2,000 votes.

Ramesh Majhi has instead been fielded from Jharigam assembly seat, which he had represented thrice earlier (2004, 2009 and 2014).

The BJD also dropped sitting MP Anubhav Mohanty and nominated former Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty, who joined the party recently, from Kendrapada Lok Sabha seat. He will take on two-time MP Baijayant Panda Panda of BJP.

The BJD has renominated Kausalya Hikaka from Koraput from where she had lost the 2019 elections to Congress’ Saptagiri Ulaka by a slender margin of 3,613 votes. She is the wife of BJD leader Jhina Hikaka, who had won from the same seat in 2014 elections.

Lambodhar Nial is the party nominee from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. He had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 and 2014 elections from Khariar Assembly constituency.

The BJD sprung a surprise by nominating Manmath Routray, who joined the party this morning, from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat instead of Srimayee Mishra, who has long been projected as its likely MP candidate.

Taking a jibe at the change in candidate, Aparajita questioned whether it was proper to drop a probable woman candidate, who has been canvasing in the constituency, at the last minute. “Though it is the internal matter of BJD, all I have to say is that ‘Gabbar Singh Khake Gaya Jo Daar Gaya O Maar Gaya’.”

The other new face is Ranjita Sahu, whom the BJD has nominated from from Aska Lok Sabha seat. Naveen has never repeated a candidate in this constituency since becoming the Chief Minister in 2000. He pulled a fresh trick out of the hat in 2019 by fielding Pramila Bisoi, a common rural woman from the back of the beyond from the seat, which he had won thrice and had been represented by his father Biju Patnaik. This time, he has placed his bet on Ranjita, who is the daughter of Hara Prasad Sahu, BJD leader and former chairman of Kodala notified area council. Her mother Sunitaprava Sahu is also former chairperson of Kodala NAC. Ranjita has been active in Kabisuryanagar assembly segment and has been heading Kabisurya Yubak Sangha.

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