BHAWANIPATNA: None of the three major parties in Kalahandi district has yet finalised candidates even as the dates of General Elections have been announced. There are four Assembly segments in the district - Bhawanipatna, Narla, Junagarh and Lanjigarh - which is going to polls in the first phase. Political observers said there is a confusion in the BJD camp over sitting MLAs retaining party ticket and all eyes are on the decision of party supremo Naveen Patnaik.
In Junagarh, apart from sitting MLA Dibya Shanakar Mishra, Pramod Kumar Pattnaik, an old guard of the party, is in the race for ticket. Sitting MLA Anam Naik is working hard for the ticket from Bhawanipatna seat but former Congress MLA Dusmanta Naik who joined BJD recently is in the forefront. Other contenders are Naik’s wife and former chairperson of Bhawanipatna Municipality Lalita, Bhawani Shankar Nial and student leader Mantu Naik.
In Narla, there are at least five aspirants while the sitting MLA has expressed his unwillingness to participate in the poll due to age factor. Zilla Parishad member Puspendra Singhdeo, Housing Board Chairman Bhupinder Singh and former Bhawanipatna Municipality chairman Aditya Nanda are also aspiring for ticket from the seat.
On the back of its encouraging performance in the last Panchayat polls, BJP is depending on grassroot level workers and Modi wave to win the General Elections.
There are five aspirants for party ticket in Junagarh, considered to be an old citadel of BJP. They are Kaliparasd Raiguru, former minister Himansu Meher, party’s district unit general secretary Ajaya Panigrahi, scion of royal family Ananta Pratap Deo and Manoj Meher.
In Bhawanipatna seat which is reserved for SC, Dayanidhi Naik and Kesari Durga are in the race for ticket while former minister Pradip Naik is aiming for Parliament seat. In Narla, Artatrana Mohapatra and Anirudha Pradhan are in the race.
Campaigning and selection of candidates in Congress is an one man show, run by Bhakta Charan Das. In Junagarh, former MLA Gobardhan Dash was projected as the sole candidate but after former BJP leader Anil Singhdeo joined Congress, he is in the forefront of the ticket race.
In Bhawanipatna Assembly segment, Das has choose his son Sagar Das for ticket but other aspirants like Samanta Khamari and Devi Sindoor are still hopeful. In Narla, Das has chosen Chitaranjan Mandal. Political observers said selecting the right candidates will also have an impact on Das’ future in the grand old party.