Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 24:
It was ‘Kahin Khusi Kahin Gham’ at Naveen Niwas after the announcement of candidates for 15 Assembly constituencies today.
Holi and Diwali were celebrated simultaneously as the lucky few who got party tickets danced, sang and sprinkled colour on each other and burst crackers to celebrate the moment. In sharp contrast, an atmosphere of a funeral prevailed around those who lost out in the race for tickets with sullen faces all around.
While several leaders rushed to Naveen Niwas, which has turned into the party office of late, to get party tickets, several leaders were seen returning with sad faces and screaming ‘conspiracy’ in the denial of tickets to them.
“I have a clean image and good public relations. I have properly utilized my MP LAD. Despite all these things, I was denied a ticket because the party vice-president Kalpataru Das does not like me personally and it is his conspiracy which deprived me of a chance to contest the ensuing elections,” said Jajpur MP Mohan Jena, who was denied a ticket this time.
The ruling BJD has denied tickets to 35 sitting MLAs and six MPs. Those left out include several bigwigs including Prafulla Ghadai, Raghunath Mohanty, Anjali Behera and Rabi Narayan Pani.
However, even though the party supremo has given tickets to most of the rebels who were part of the failed coup on May 29, 2012, the ruling party may find it tough to quell the possible rebellion by ticket losers and unsuccessful aspirant, who are all set to play spoilsport to the election arithmetic of Naveen Patnaik during the elections.
Though the leaders themselves have not spoken up so far, their supporters have started protesting against the party.
Supporters of local BJD leader Manoj Sahu today resorted to a 12-hour bandh in Palalahara block protesting the decision of BJD supremo to give ticket to Mahesh Sahu to contest from this Assembly seat.
Sahu had contested the 2009 elections from the Talcher constituency. However, he has been given ticket to contest from Palalahara seat this time denying a ticket to former chief whip of BJD Rabi Narayan Pani. “I am a son of the soil. But, I was denied a ticket and an outsider was allowed to contest the elections. The people of the area will never accept it,” said Manoj Sahu, who was a BJD ticket aspirant.
Similarly after the denial of ticket to sitting MLA Rabi Mallick from Kakatpur, his supporters demanded reconsideration of the decision. “The party should give ticket to Mallick. The people are not acquainted with the new face, who is an outsider. If the chief minister does not reconsider his decision, the BJD will lose the seat and Jagatsinghpur also,” said Jogendra Padhi, a supporter of Mallick.