Major Odisha parties yet to finalise candidates for Kandhamal bypoll

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 20:

All the three major political parties – BJD, BJP and Congress – are nowhere near finalising their candidates for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha by-polls in Odisha even as the filing of nominations for the seat entered the second day today.

All three parties are deliberating with their leaders and workers to select the candidates for the seat. By-election for the Lok Sabha seat is scheduled to be held on October 15.

Dilip Ray : Can he emerge as the dark horse?
Dilip Ray : Can he emerge as the dark horse?

While the ruling BJD has more or less decided to field Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh, widow of Hemendra Chandra Singh whose untimely death necessitated the bypoll, as its candidate, the two national parties are still busy holding meetings as they are unable to come up with befitting contenders who can take on the might of the ruling party and the sympathy wave that is bound to have some impact in the election.

Even though the parliamentary committee of BJP today met at New Delhi to decide on candidates for the by-polls to be held at some constituencies in the country, they could not decide on the Kandhamal seat as the State Election Committee (SEC) of the BJPis yet to recommend any name to them.

“We are in the process of finalising our candidate for the Lok Sabha seat. It would take a day or two more to decide. Let the ruling BJD first open up its card, then we will show ours,” said senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari.

Several leaders of the party are in the race to contest from the seat. The names of Surama Padhi, Suresh Pujari, Samir Mohanty, Ashok Sahu and Sukanta Panigrahi are doing the rounds in discussions within the party and outside. However, sources in the BJP said the state leadership is persuading Rourkela MLA Dillip Ray to contest from the seat.

“If Ray contests from the seat, he can give a tough fight to the opponent. The central leadership has also proposed his name. He would n’t lose his MLA seat, if defeated, either,” said a BJP leader.

The Congress too is engaged in hectic confabulations to finalise its candidate, It is reportedly deliberating on nominating a former MP to contest from the seat. While the observers of PCC have already submitted their reports to State party president Jaydev Jena on probable candidates, the state leadership is in favour of selecting a former MP.

Former MPs Bhakta Das and Pradeep Majhi are in the race to contest from the seat. The party is likely to submit its report to the Congress parliamentary committee within two days.

Filing of nomination papers will continue till September 26. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on September 27 and the last date for withdrawal of papers is September 29.

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