Hema Gamang Joins BJD, May Contest Against Hubby
Confusion prevailed in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) camp as tickets for two Lok Sabha constituencies, Koraput and Kandhamal, going to polls in the first phase on April 10 could not be finalised despite several rounds of discussion by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with senior leaders.
The BJD is also yet to announce candidates for 22 Assembly constituencies, where elections would be held in the first phase. However, desertion from the Congress continued, with Hema Gamang, former MP and wife of former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang, meeting Naveen on Saturday.
Hema arrived at the Naveen Nivas here accompanied by Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi. After a brief discussion with Naveen, Hema announced that she has formally joined the BJD.But there was no announcement from the BJD camp in this regard. BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das said Hema, who is interested to join the party, met the Chief Minister. The former MP is reported to be lobbying for a BJD ticket from Koraput Lok Sabha constituency.
Hema told reporters that she had already sent her resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “In the letter, I have stated that I have been insulted by the party leadership that has no respect for the senior members,” Hema said.
Alleging that president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena’s style of functioning forced her to quit the party, Hema said she was interested to contest from Koraput Lok Sabha seat on a BJD ticket.
If Hema was nominated by BJD for the Koraput Lok Sabha seat, she would contest against her husband, who has been announced as the Congress candidate from the seat.
However, Naveen is yet to take a decision on the Koraput seat. The party might nominate sitting BJD MLA from Laxmipur Jhina Hikaka, Jayram Pangi’s son Ashok Pangi or Hema.
The name of Hemendra Singh, former president of Nayagarh District Congress Committee, has been finalised for the Kandhmal seat.
Candidates for the two Lok Sabbha and 22 Assembly seats would be announced on Sunday. Meanwhile, former Balasore MLA and NCP leader Arun Dey joined the BJD. He is likely to contest from the Balasore Lok Sabha seat. Dey had contested the last election as the NCP candidate from Balasore Lok Sabha constituency and was defeated by Congress’ Srikant Jena.