Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 20:
The state election committee of the Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shortlisted prospective candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha seat in the state. The names would be shortly sent to the central parliamentary board of the party for a final call on the matter, the party said.
“In today’s poll panel meeting, the committee shortlisted the candidates for all 21 Lok Sabha seas in Odishat. After giving finishing touches to the list, we will send it to the Central Leadership for a final decision,” said senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari.
Pujari, however, made it clear that the list for the 147 Assembly seats, elections for which would be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, is yet to be drawn up. “We are in the process of collecting feedback from the ground level about the appropriate candidates in each constituency,” he said.
The former state unit president said for the first time ever, the party is accepting applications from interested candidates for BJP tickets. “There were so many aspirants that we decided. for once, to give a go-by to our traditional approach of not accepting applications,” Pujari said.
The meeting, chaired by party president Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo, was attended by the 18 other members of the state election committee. Though media persons were not allowed to attend the committee meeting, BJP sources said there was a broad discussion on the selection of candidates for the elections and issues pertaining to election management, election campaign, party manifesto etc.
The other members present in today’s meeting were former state president of the party Jual Oram, Surendra Lath, Binod Dash, Bhrugu Buxipatra and state Mahila Morcha president Simantini Jena who are permanent invitees to the election committee. National general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan, however, was not present at the meeting.
Besides, State’s BJP affairs in-charge Arun Singh, Sambalpur MLA Jayanarayan Mishra, senior leaders Biswabhusan Harichandan, Manmohan Samal, Bimbadhar Kuanr, Surama Padhi, Sanchita Mohanty, Nayan Mohanty, Mohan Majhi, state secretary(organization) Prasanna Kumar Mishra were also present at the meeting. Senior leaders Dillip Ray and Bijay Mohapatra, however, were conspicuous by their absence.
The party today launched the ‘One Note-One Vote’ drive with the slogan “Modi for PM” which they said would move from door to door in every district to collect money (note) and a vote for the party. The party has distributed lakhs of contributing pots to the nearly 2000 party members, who participated in today’s meeting, and asked them to campaign vigorously for the party.