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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: BJD may stagger release of candidates list amid concerns of poaching

The BJD won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in 2014. It has kept its options open, not aligning with either the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), ahead of the four-phase polling in the state from April 11 to 29.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 11:38 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The BJP  is set to name seven women candidates for the Lok Sabha elections after party chief and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced 33% reservation for women.
The BJP is set to name seven women candidates for the Lok Sabha elections after party chief and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced 33% reservation for women. (PTI)
         

Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is considering a staggered release of the name of its candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections amid concerns of poaching by rival parties.

The BJD won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in 2014. It has kept its options open, not aligning with either the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), ahead of the four-phase polling in the state from April 11 to 29.

The party is set to announce seven women candidates after BJD chief and chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced 33% reservation for women. On Wednesday, Patnaik hailed his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee’s decision to set apart 40% of the state’s 42 seats for women candidates.

Party leaders indicate that in Kendrapara, the home turf of late former CM and Naveen Patnaik’s father, Biju Patnaik, the BJD may field a woman candidate. The party recently inducted Sunita Biswal, daughter of former state CM and Congress veteran Hemananda Biswal, and she is expected to contest from Sundargarh, an area with considerable Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) influence.

Also Read | Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Numbers, names and issues in Odisha

The BJD is also set to repeat its three sitting women MPs from Keonjhar, Jajpur and Kandhamal.

A BJD leader said on condition of anonymity that in the tribal belt of Koraput, the BJD may field a woman tribal leader. In Dhenkanal, senior BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy has decided not to contest any election and a woman candidate may be picked for his seat too.

The nominations may come in slowly. Two senior BJD leaders said Patnaik may not announce all the candidates at the same time as Banerjee did.

“In Odisha chances are high that leaders who are denied tickets will join a rival party. Naveen has indicated in party meetings that he may like to minimise these chances by announcing them at the nick of time,” said a senior BJD leader.

The BJP has inducted Babu Singh, a former Bhubaneswar district working president of BJD.

For complete coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 11:36 IST