With the BJP and the Congress announcing their candidates for nearly half of the Lok Sabha seats for the ensuing elections, all eyes are now on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik starts consultation with the senior leaders to finalise their list of candidates.
Sources said the first list of BJD candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will be out within the next two or three days. Senior party leaders and observers held marathon meetings with the Chief Minister to finalise the list of candidates even as the number of aspirants increased with each passing day.
As leaders from the Congress and the BJP made a beeline for joining the BJD, the finalisation of the lists has been delayed. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das had said that barring a few sitting MLAs, all will be renominated.
Sources, however, said sitting MP from Balangir Kalikesh Singhdeo will be renominated. While former minister Nagendra Pradhan will be the BJD candidate from Sambalpur seat, the party may not nominate senior leader Bhupinder Singh, who resigned from the Congress and joined the BJD on Saturday. The name of Arka Keshari Deo, son of late MP Bikram Keshari Deo, has been finalised for the Kalahandi seat.
While the name of former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey has been finalised for the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat, for the Berhampur seat, sitting MP Siddhanta Mohapatra will be renominated. Candidates for the Koraput and Kandhamal seats are yet to be decided though the BJD has sitting MPs in both these constituencies. Sources said Jayram Pangi and Rudramadhav Ray may not be renominated for the Koraput and Kandhamal seats, respectively.
Sources said candidates for the prestigious Cuttack and Bhubaneswar seats are yet to be decided.
The BJP announced its second list of candidates, including five Lok Sabha and and 57 Assembly seats, while the Congress released its first list of nine candidates for Lok Sabha seats.