JEYPORE: Appointment of Ishwar Chandra Panigrahi as the Koraput president of the BJD, seems to have ruffled some feathers in the district unit of the ruling party. Senior leaders including Rabi Narayan Nanda, Gupta Prasad Dash, Bishnu Patra and Jhinha Hikka were sidelined, which, political observers believe, will make it difficult for Panigrahi to keep the flock together. Party insiders said the decision to appoint Panigrahi has upset senior leaders who were hopeful of being given the responsibility.
The discontent has already begun to be evident as the leaders including heavyweight Nanda chose to stay away from public events of the party after Panigrahi’s appointment.In the 2019 General Elections, after being defeated by Congress candidate Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Nanda had gone silent for some time. However, he renewed his political activities this year to draw attention of BJD supremo with an eye on Rajya Sabha berth. Political observers added that differences between Nanda and Panigrahi over several issues have been seen in the past and the latter is now the main contender for the Rajya Sabha berth from Jeypore. The district party president post will act as a bonus for Panigrahi.
Former MP of Koraput Jhinna, who lost the last election to Congress’ Saptagiri Ulaka, was also an aspirant for the post for his tribal status. Since the district is tribal dominated and the four Assembly segments fall under reserved category, he also hoped to be appointed district president.