By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who is seeking fifth term in office, has exercised enough caution while preparing first phase candidate list for the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, opine political observers.
He has changed as many as eight Lok Sabha candidates out of nine declared today. By this way, he could prevent anti-incumbency factor. Besides, to woo women voters he has fielded three women out of nine for the Lok Sabha polls, thereby sending a message that he has stuck to his announcement for giving 33 percent tickets to the fair sex, said a political analyst.
Naveen also surprised the people of Odisha by announcing that he would contest from Bijepur assembly seat from western Odisha, besides his traditional seat Hinjili in South. Naveen is contesting from two seats at a time for the first time. His move is believed to be a strategy to woo voters of western Odisha, which is considered as stronghold of opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Naveen today put up three women candidates for Lok Sabha polls. They are: women empowerment movement leader Pramila Bisoi from Aska, Sunita Biswal, daughter of former chief minister and Congress veteran Hemananda Biswal and Kaushalya Hikaka, wife of Koraput MP, Jhinna Hikaka.
Besides, Naveen has nominated at least 12 women for 54 assembly segments, list of which was released today. Prominent among them are: Kalyani Gajapati (Paralakhemundi), Usha Devi (Chikiti), Snehangini Chhuria (Attabira), Nandini Devi (Sanakhemundi), Latika Pradhan (Kabisuryanagar), Tukuni Sahu (Titlagarh), Manjula Swain (Aska) and Padmini Dian (Kotpad).
Naveen has changed eight out of 9 Lok Sabha and more than 25 Assembly candidates this time. Even six sitting MPs and around 15 sitting MLAs have been dropped. Former MP and former Hockey India captain Dilip Tirkey has been replaced.
Naveen has also started move to bring back party veterans to strengthen the party organisation. On Saturday, former union minister Dilip Ray, who had been ousted from the party in 2002 on the charges of anti-party activities, had a close door meeting with Naveen at his residence Naveen Niwas. Party sources said he would come back to the party at any moment. Naveen has also revoked expulsion order on veteran leader and former finance minister Prafulla Ghadai today. Ghadai, who was expelled from the party for his alleged caustic remark against the leadership, is likely to meet Naveen very soon to express his thanks.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.