The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Sunday announced names of nine candidates for the upcoming Odisha Assembly election, denying ticket to three sitting MLAs. Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik re-nominated sitting MLA and former state minister Pradip Maharathy from Pipili and Sameer Dash from Nimapara. Similarly, sitting MLAs Pramod Mallick and Surendra Sethi were also fielded from Niali and Kakatpur Assembly constituencies respectively which they represent at present.
Party MLA from Balikuda-Ersama Pradshant Muduli’s constituency has been changed this time and he has been fielded from Jagatsinghpur. He will lock horns with Chiranjiv Biswal of the Congress, who represents the seat now. Raghunandan Das, who has switched over to the ruling BJD quitting the BJP, has been made the ruling party candidate from Balikuda-Ersama.
Sitting BJD MLAs from Anandpur, Dhamnagar and Nilagiri have been denied ticket this time. While Bhagirathi Sethi, who deserted the BJP despite being nominated by the saffron party for assembly polls, has been fielded by the BJD from Anandpur constituency in place of sitting MLA Mayadhar Jena.
In Nilgiri assembly constituency, the BJD has fielded Santosh Khatua in place of Sukanta Kumar Nayak, who had recently resigned from the party and joined BJP. BJD’s sitting legislator from Dhamnagar, Muktikant Mandal has been replaced and Rajendra Kumar Das has been fielded from the constituency. Mandal’s wife Manjulata Mandal has been fielded by the BJD for Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat.
With Sunday’s announcement of nine candidates, the BJD has so far announced candidates for 128 seats out of the 147 assembly segments in the state. The BJD is also yet to announce names of candidates for three Lok Sabha seats - Cuttack, Dhankanal and Keonjhar. There are 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Odisha will be held simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.