The Kalahandi district unit of the BJP has raised a banner of revolt against the State leadership of the party over selection of candidates for the district for the ensuing elections.
Over 50 BJP workers including block and district level functionaries are on dharna in the State office of the party since Monday protesting the selection of former minister Pradipta Kumar Naik as the candidate for the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat.
Shouting slogans against Naik, the protestors gheraoed party general secretary (organisation) Prasanna Mishra on Monday demanding change of candidates of Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat and the candidates nominated for five Assembly seats.
Sources in the party said the protestors are supporters of former minister Himansu Sekhar Meher who has been denied a ticket this time. Elected thrice from Junagarh Assembly segment, Meher was a minister from 2002 to 2004 in the Naveen Patnaik led BJD-BJP coalition Government.
The party has named Sunil Singhdeo, political green horn, for the Junagarh seat for the coming election.
Meher’s supporters alleged that Pradipta Naik has a hand in the denial of ticket to the former and the selection of candidates for Assembly seats in the district was done as per the latter’s advice. However, Naik refuted the charges saying he has no role to play in the ticket selection. Naik and Meher are known bete noires. They do not see eye to eye in district politics.
“We have come here to meet party president KV Singhdeo and voice our protest against the selection of candidates,” said Manoj Meher.
Sitting BJP MLA Hitesh Bagarti who has been renominated from Kharia Assembly seat was the other aspirant for Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. Meanwhile, Bagarti had expressed his unwillingness to contest the next Assembly election.