Although the Congress and the BJP are lagging far behind the BJD in the poll race, Naveen Patnaik’s outfit seems to be suffering from the worst side effect of a possible victory: Rebellion.
Many BJD leaders have filed nominations to fight against official candidates even as the CM released the full list for 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats on Tuesday.
Resentment has been brewing among leaders since they got wind of Patnaik’s plans to replace about 60 “unpopular” MLAs identified in a state intelligence department’s survey report a year back.
But he decided to retain more than half of them after the latest survey said many three-time MLAs were resourceful and had the potential to damage the party’s chance in the polls.
Patnaik refused 35 sitting MLAs, including former finance minister Prafulla Ghadei, steel minister Raghunath Mohanty and women and child development minister Anjali Behera.
Behera filed her nomination as an independent candidate from the Hindol assembly seat in Dhenkanal, while Mohanty reportedly decided against contesting from Basta assembly in Balasore at the last moment.
BJD leaders said at least 20 party men would fight official candidates while an equal number of dummy candidates had been fielded by some influential leaders. “This may cause a setback for the BJD in several areas,” a party leader said.