Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Dec 21:
The filing of nomination papers by a large number of rebel BJD candidates has unnerved both the ruling party and its nominees as they see the rebels a major threat to their winning prospects in the ensuing Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls scheduled to be held on January 8.
While a total of 451 candidates have filed their nomination papers for the 67 wards of BMC, many BJD workers have joined the fray as independent candidates in almost all the wards – good enough reasons to keep the party’s poll strategists on tenterhooks. They are now on an overdrive to win over rebels and persuade them to withdraw their candidature.
According to reports, 12 sitting corporators who were denied BJD tickets for the BMC polls, have either fielded their own candidates or have announced their support to independent candidates in their respective wards.
Mandakini Kar, vice-president of Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD), filed her papers from Ward number 61 (Bhimtangi Housing Board colony, Khanduala slum, Kaligadia).
BJD has fielded Anita Rani Mohanty from the same Ward.
Among others, Rashmi Rekha Jena, Rajani Patsani and Samir Pradhan , well-known BJD faces in the city, have filed nominations as independents.
“The party for which I have worked so hard, has betrayed me by not giving me a ticket. It has done grave injustice to me and my supporters. I have decided to contest as an independent to prove my popularity and acceptability,” said Rasmi Rekha Jena, who has filed nomination paper to contest from Ward number 8.
Rashmi is the wife of Ranjan Jena, a former corporator.
The ruling party has roped in social activist Linkan Subudhi, who was assaulted in Noida, to contest from Ward-8.
Rajani Patsani, who is contesting from Ward-44 as a rebel candidate, hoped to get the support of local people and win the polls.
While a couple of candidates lost their chance to contest under the changed Reservation matrix of the Wards, internal tussle between two factions in the ruling party, one led by the outgoing mayor Anant Naryan Jena and the other supported by the three city MLAs, is said to be a major reason behind the denial of tickets to some candidates.
However, the BJD leaders downplayed the rebel factor by saying, they will be “managed” shortly.
“Rebel candidates have always been there in every election. Besides, there were multiple aspirants for all the wards. But everybody can’t get tickets. We will persuade them to withdraw their candidatures and cooperate with the official party candidates,” said Panchayatiraj Minister Kalpataru Das.
The rebel factor has not only affected the ruling party but also the opposition Congress and BJP as many aspirants who have been denied party tickets, have filed nomination papers. However, the number of rebels in these two parties is negligible, sources said adding leaders of both parties are hoping to cash in on the rebel elements in the ruling party.
“The rebel candidates of BJD will certainly help us as they will divide the vote tally of the ruling party,” said senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan.
BJD had 40 corporators in the 60-ward outgoing council.