Bhubaneswar: True to his words, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik today announced the names of remainder of the contestants from the list of 21 Lok Sabha seats for the ensuing twin polls in Odisha, thereby giving 33 percent representation to women candidates.
“BJD has promised 33 percent for women and I am happy to say that we shall stand by our promise,” Naveen said while reading out the list at his residence here this evening.
The regional party aiming to seize reigns for the record fifth time in the state has fielded seven women candidates (one-third), a first in the history of Indian politics.
With the decision of fielding 33 percent women candidates, Naveen had thrown the gauntlet for the Opposition to follow the suit. However, it is highly unlikely that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress will get even closer to this.
Naveen is clearly a matchwinner while giving away tickets to women, for the time being.
The seven women nominees of the conch party are:
Kausalya Hikaka- Koraput
Wife of sitting Koraput MP Jhina Hikaka, Kausalya has been replaced with her husband to contest in the forthcoming elections against Jayaram Pangi of BJP and Saptagiri Ulaka of Congress.
Pramila Bisoi- Aska
The septuagenarian known for spearheading the Self-Help Group (SHG) movement in Odisha will contest in the upcoming polls against Anita Priyadarshini of BJP and Ramakrushna Panda of CPI.
Sunita Biswal- Sundergarh
Daughter of former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Hemananda Biswal, Sunita is the debutant face of BJD in this western Odisha parliamentary constituency. She quit Congress and joined BJD last month. She will have a face-off with Union Minister Jual Oram of BJP and senior Congress leader George Tirkey.
Chandrani Murmu- Keonjhar
The technocrat will be making her debut in politics from Keonjhar parliamentary segment. She is the granddaughter of former Keonjhar MP Harihar Soren and joined the conch party only yesterday. This young mechanical engineer is in the fray against BJP’s Ananta Nayak and Congress’ Fakir Mohan Naik.
Dr. Rajashree Mallick- Jagatsinghpur
This sitting MLA from Tirtol assembly seat, with a doctorate in pathology, has been nominated to contest from this parliamentary seat. She will battle it out with newbie Pratima Mallick of Congress. The BJP is yet to declare its candidate for this parliamentary segment.
Sarmistha Sethi- Jajpur
Sarmistha recently resigned from Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) to contest as a BJD candidate. She is being pitted against Amiya Mallick of BJP, while Congress is still in search of a candidate for Jajpur Lok Sabha seat.
Manjulata Mandal- Bhadrak
Manjulata is the spouse of sitting Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal. She will lock horns with BJP’s Abhimanyu Sethi and Congress’ Madhumita Sethi in the imminent elections this month.