BJD Drops Six Sitting MLAs In 6th List Of Assembly Candidates


Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Saturday announced candidates for nine Assembly seats, denying party tickets to six sitting MLAs including two former ministers Amar Prasad Satapathy and Sashi Bhusan Behera.

Sitting MLAs of Champua, Remuna, Kendrapara, Anandpur, Barchana, and Simulia have been dropped by the conch party from contesting the upcoming election in the state.

Among the six sitting MLAs denied party tickets, is the party’s founding member, Amar Prasad Satpathy. Satpathy was elected to the Barchana Assembly seat six times, twice from the Janata Dal, once from NCP, and three times from BJD. He served as Minister of State for Agriculture in the Naveen Patnaik government from 2000 to 2002 and as the government chief whip in the state assembly from 2017 to 2019.

BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik surprised many by fielding Ollywood actress Varsha Priyadarshini, who recently joined the party, from the Barchana Assembly seat, replacing sitting MLA Amar Satpathy, who was also vying for the seat for his son. Varsha Priyadarshini is the ex-wife of sitting Kendrapara MP Anubhav Mohanty, who quit the BJD and joined the BJP.

Three more sitting MLAs Bhagirathy Sethy, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Minakhi Mohanta and Sudhansu Sekhar Parida were also dropped from the list of contestants.

The BJD named former Minister Ganeshwar Behera, who recently resigned from the Congress and joined the BJD, as a candidate for the Kendrapara Assembly seat, denying party tickets to sitting MLA and former finance minister Sashi Bhusan Behera.

This time, the BJD nominated noted trade union leader and former independent MLA Sanatan Mahakud to contest the Champua Assembly seat, replacing sitting MLA Minakshi Mahant. However, the conch party renominated sitting MLA Basanti Hembram from the Karanjia Assembly seat.

The BJD has so far announced candidates for 135 Assembly seats in six phases and is yet to finalise the candidates for the remaining 12 Assembly seats while the opposition BJP and Congress are also yet to announce party candidates for 14 and 19 Assembly seats, respectively. The BJD and the BJP have already announced candidates for all 21 Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress has so far announced candidates for 17 Lok Sabha seats.

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