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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 14:

With January 17 — the last date for filing nomination papers for Odisha panchayat polls — getting nearer, several factions of ruling Biju Janata Dal have started knocking at the doors of party boss Naveen Patnaik to have their candidates fielded in the polls.

BJD Biju Janata Dal logo

According to party leaders, more than the Zilla Parishad polls – where the party goes to the election with the party symbol, it is the panchayat polls where the local leaders are facing issues selecting the candidates.

In some cases, lack of coordination between the MLAs, MPs and district unit presidents are also leading to issues for the party.

Citing an example, Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty explained how the candidates are having trouble getting party nominations because of differences between a former MLA and the sitting MLA in Satyabadi.

“There are differences between the incumbent and the former MLA in Satyabadi. That is affecting the ticket distribution there. However, today we sat down and held a discussion to sort the issue out,” said Mohanty after meeting Naveen.

“Even though we were able to finalise seats for about 50 percent of sarpanch candidates, we will not be able to decide on the other half — based on negation. This is because there are as many as four to five aspiring candidates in every panchayats,” said BJD Satyabadi MLA Umakanta Samantray speaking to reporters after the meeting.

“It is kind of a mini-MLA poll to them. Expectations are high and competition is fierce. That explains the delay. However, everyone will have to abide by the party decision,” said BJD Bhatli MLA Susant Singh, who also came down to meet Naveen to push for his candidates.