BHUBANESWAR: Organisational polls in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) this time is likely to throw up factionalism to the fore as rival groups have emerged in almost all the districts claiming key posts.
Divisions in rank and file of the party had come to light during the 10-day Jan Sampark Yatra in October. The growing instances of squabbling among party leaders at the local level have put the State leadership in a difficult situation which is trying to nominate office-bearers at the district level on a consensus basis.
The padyatra had exposed a vertical split in district organisations owing allegiance to different Ministers, MLAs and senior leaders. At many places, workers created problems for leaders during the padyatra giving rise to unsavoury situations.
Senior leaders, including Ministers, faced problems in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Balasore, Balangir, Sonepur, Malkangiri, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur and Nayagarh districts. Several leaders had to face the ire of workers during the padyatra though it was described as the handiwork of Congress workers. Ministers had to face black flag protests at several places from own workers.
Though the Chief Minister had appointed more than 200 observers for the smooth conduct of the padyatra, the situation went out of control at many places.
Sources in the BJD maintained that of 147 Assembly constituencies, leaders faced opposition from their party workers in over 50 segments. Though the issue was raised by several senior leaders, the State leadership does not seem to have taken the development seriously.
State returning officer (SRO) for the organisational polls and former minister Pratap Deb said the membership drive of the party will conclude on Friday. He said district returning officers (DROs) will be appointed after receiving the voters’ list from the party during next week.
Deb said election process will start after appointment of 32 DROs. It will be over within two months from the appointment of DROs, he said and added that differences, if any, will be sorted out by the party.