BHUBANESWAR: The BJP on Monday announced former Kandhamal MP Rudramadhab Ray as its candidate for the by-poll from the seat scheduled on October 15.
Ray, who was denied ticket by BJD in the last Lok Sabha polls, joined BJP on Sunday.
The name of the former MP was proposed by the State Election Committee (SEC) of the party and cleared by the BJP Parliamentary Board.
On the other hand, the ruling BJD has finalised Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh, widow of Hemendra Singh, as its candidate. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has convened a meeting of senior leaders for the by-poll on Tuesday after which the party’s candidate is likely to be announced.
Naveen is likely to campaign for the party candidate in the first week of October. Ministers and party MLAs will be kept in charge of different areas of the Lok Sabha constituency as the BJD will leave no stone unturned to retain the seat.
Meanwhile, acute factionalism has once again delayed selection of Congress candidate with the State unit leaving it to the high command to select the nominee.
President of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena has left for New Delhi to meet AICC office-bearers to expedite the selection of the candidate. Jena said AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad will meet the party president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday to finalise the candidate.
Along with several local leaders, two former MPs of the party, Bhakta Charan Das and Pradip Majhi are in the race for the party ticket. While Das is a former MP from Kalahandi, Majhi represented Nabarangpur seat. Das and Majhi had unsuccessfully contested from Kalahandi and Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seats.
Former minister Harihar Karan who lost the last Lok Sabha polls from the Kandhamal seat last time is unlikely to be fielded by the party.
Karan, who lost to BJD candidate Hemendra Singh by more than 1.8 lakh votes, blamed internal sabotage for his defeat.
Besides, he had alleged that the State leadership had not funded him adequately in the election.