Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 20 :
The much awaited Biju Janata Dal List-IV is likely to be announced ‘any time’ in the next 24 hours.
Observers say the delay in the announcement of the fourth list is deliberate and due mainly to two problems. One is that Naveen Patnaik is still indecisive about dropping certain sitting MLAs and weighing the pros and of such action. Secondly, the last minute declaration of names would ensure those who are denied party tickets do not get space in either BJP or Congress.
BJD’s List -IV and, if at all, List -V will be the most crucial for the ruling party and may make or mar its fortune in the coming polls.
There are speculations that Naveen may induct new faces in 15 to 20 of the 77 assembly constituencies that go to polls in the second phase. Similiarly, there are indications that he may replace 5 to 6 sitting Lok Sabha MPs this time. These leaders are waiting for the final list with crossed fingers.
But by all accounts, these are not easy decisions to take because getting the vote arithmetic correct is far more important in the polls than the so-called popularity of an individual or a party. Coastal Odisha is the middle pillar of the Biju Janata Dal and that is threatening to collapse under its own weight, say party insiders.
Naveen’s open door policy with regard to the deserters from other rival parties has not gone down well with partymen, especially in constituencies where new leaders of the party were emerging as forces to reckon with.
The “over-loaded boat can only sink.” said an angry BJD ticket aspirant from Kendrapara who is sure he would not get the blessings of the ‘party god’.
Of the 77 assembly seats that go to polls in the second phase, BJD currently holds sway in at least 72. Apart from the 65 MLAs who had won on BJD tickets, there are 4 former NCP MLAs who have joined the ruling party in 2012. Then there are three independents who are with the BJD.
On the surface, the BJD appears to be in an unassailable position in the coastal belt. But that could prove to be deceptive if the biggies are dumped for they are good enough to upset Naveen’s apple cart. That explains why Naveen is so very cautious and apprehensive about the tinkering he has been planning to do.
Naveen is clearly in trouble over the selection of candidates in a number of seats
One example is Bolangir where he is on a sticky wicket.If he allows his friend and Rajya Sabha MP AU Singhdeo to contest the Bolangir assembly seat, then he would invite justified criticism that he is favouring the family by hook or by crook and undue expenses from the state exchequer. But, if he does not give the ticket to him, BJD runs the risk of losing the seat to the Congress stalwart Narasingha Mishra.
But, as one observer pointed out, Naveen is unlikely to commit blunders because he may not have learnt Odia or governance but he has surely mastered the art and craft of winning elections.
“Unlike others, he is poll-ready 24/7 because the sole and ultimate goal for him is ‘winning elections’. That is his ideology and everything else comes next. He has got used to winning and he believes it is he and he alone who matters today in Odisha politics. Everybody else is insignificant and dispensable,” the observer said, adding ” however, politics is a cruel and treacherous game that has no permanent winners or losers.”