Friday, March 27, 2009

List of candidates reflects void in BJD

The Statesman, March 27, 2009
Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, March 26: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik will contest from his home constituency of Hinjili for the third successive term while as many as five of his ministerial colleagues and 22 sitting MLAs have found place in the list of candidates announced for the first phase polls on 16 April.
The first phase is to be held in the western and southern parts of the state comprising of 70 Assembly and 10 LS seats. This belt was by and large dominated by the BJP which has snapped ties with the BJD, hence most of the candidates nominated by the BJD today were new faces.
The list of eight LS candidates reflected the void in the BJD ranks as it had to pitch in many sitting MLAs for LS seats and even nominate rank defectors.
The BJD has nominated Oriya film actor Sidhant Mohapatra for the Berhampur LS seat which had been allotted to the BJP in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Interestingly, the dearth of candidates for the BJD in this belt was evident from the fact that a couple of turncoats and relative green horns like Mr Rohit Pujari, the youth Congress president who had joined the BJD yesterday was rewarded with the prestigious Sambalpur LS seat. Mr Nityananda Pradhan, a former CPI state chief, who had deserted the party has been given the BJD ticket for Aska LS seat even as the BJD is in seat adjustment with the CPI.
Surprisingly, the BJD dropped one of its former ministers Mr Nagendra Pradhan from the list of MLA candidates.
Equally, baffling was the omission of any candidate for the Kalahandi LS seat. Speculations are that Mr Bhakta Charan Das, the working president of the Congress is unhappy and he may switch over to the BJD to contest from the Kalahandi LS seat.
Mr Das lost the elections continuously for the last three times as far as Kalahandi LS seat is concerned and the Congress is unlikely to nominate him. So he is likely to join the BJD and try his luck, said reliable sources here.
The eight nominated for the LS by the BJD today are Mr Jayaram Pangi, a sitting MLA for the Koraput LS seat, Mr Dambaru Majhi for the Nawarangpur LS seat, Mr Sidhant Mohapatra for Berhampur, Mr Nityananda Pradhan for Aska, Mr Rudramadhab Ray, a sitting MLA for the Kandhamal seat, Mr Kalikesh Singh Deo, another sitting MLA for Bolangir, Mr Rohit Pujari for Sambalpur and Mr Hamid Hussain for Bargarh.

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