BHUBANESWAR: The ruling BJD on Sunday announced nine more candidates for the Assembly elections and retained former minister Pradip Maharathy from Pipili seat.
Maharathy’s renomination had become uncertain following his controversial statement on the alleged Pipili gangrape and murder case for which he was removed from the Cabinet by Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on January 5, 2019. However, the party supremo has reposed his faith on him again by renominating him from the seat.
In the fresh list, tickets have been denied to four sitting MLAs while constituency of one incumbent legislator has been changed. Others who have retained their Assembly seats include party spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash (Nimapara), Surendra Sethi (Kakatpur) and Pramod Mallik (Niali).
Bhagirathi Sethi, who quit BJP after getting the saffron party’s ticket from Anandapur constituency, has been fielded by BJD from the same seat. The ruling party has denied ticket to sitting MLA Mayadhar Jena to accommodate Bhagirathi.
Besides, BJD has given ticket to Santosh Khatua from Nilgiri by denying ticket to sitting MLA Sukanta Kumar Nayak who has joined BJP.
The ruling party has fielded Rajendra Kumar Das from Dhamnagar in place of sitting MLA Mukti Kanta Mandal. A former MLA, Das had won from the constituency on a BJD ticket in 2009 elections. Mandal’s wife Manjulata Mandal has been fielded by BJD from Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency.
Raghunandan Das has been nominated by BJD for Balikuda-Erasama seat to take on former minister Damodar Rout who has been fielded by BJP from the constituency. Sitting MLA Prashant Muduli has been shifted from Balikuda-Erasama to Jagatsinghpur seat from where working president of Congress and sitting MLA Chiranjib Biswal is contesting the polls.
However, fate of senior leader and Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera still hangs in balance as the party is yet to take a decision on its nominee for Jaydev constituency.