Odisha’s Sambalpur to witness high-voltage battle: It’s Dharmendra vs Bobby

The ruling BJD has given tickets to several youth leaders in its first list of candidates for 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Odisha.

Bhubaneswar: Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha is all set to witness a high profile fight in the 2024 Parliamentary elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan from Sambalpur while the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has picked its organizational general secretary Pranab Prakash Das for the 2024 battle.

Pradhan (54), the son of former Union Minister Debendra Pradhan, had been elected to Odisha Assembly from Pallahada seat in 2000. He had won Lok Sabha polls from Deogarh in 2004. He was the national president of BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 2004 to 2006. However, Pradhan lost the Assembly elections in Odisha in 2009.

Pradhan was elected to Rajya Sabha from Bihar in 2012. He had served as the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the BJP-led government at the Centre from 2014-2019.

Pradhan was once again elected to the Upper House from Madhya Pradesh in 2018 and given the charge of the Ministry of Education when the BJP formed government at the Centre for the second consecutive term in 2019.

Das (51), the son of former Korei MLA and influential Janata Dal leader Ashok Das, was elected to Odisha Assembly from Jajpur seat thrice in a row since 2009. He had served as a minister in the BJD government in the state a few years ago.

Das, an influential BJD leader, had reportedly announced that he would take on Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan if the latter contests from any Lok Sabha seat in Odisha. Das will contest the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in his career.

The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, which announced its first list of nine candidates for 2024 Lok Sabha polls today, has given tickets to some of its prominent youth leaders including Das.

The party has fielded former MLA Ansuman Mohanty (40), the son of former minister Nalinikanta Mohanty, from Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat. Mohanty, a first-timer in Lok Sabha polls, will take on BJP national vice president Baijayant Panda. Ansuman had been elected to Odisha Assembly on a Congress ticket in 2014. He recently resigned from Congress party and joined BJD. The BJD has denied ticket to sitting Kendrapara MP and actor-turned-politician Anubhav Mohanty.

Former MP Pradeep Kumar Majhi (48), son of former Rajya Sabha MP Bhagaban Majhi, has been given BJD ticket from Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat. Majhi had been elected to the Lok Sabha on a Congress ticket in 2009. He had also served as Congress youth wing president and party’s executive president in Odisha before joining the BJD.

Hockey India president Dillip Tirkey (47) has been picked by the BJD to contest against senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Jual Oram from Sundargarh seat.

The BJD has chosen Manmath Routray (Around 45), the son of former Minister and Jatni Congress MLA Suresh Kumar Routray, to fight against sitting MP and BJP national spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha segment. Manmath, a former pilot, will make his debut in the electoral politics.

Kausalya Hikaka (38), the wife of former MP Jhina Hikaka, has been given the BJD ticket from Koraput seat.

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