Bhubaneswar: Dissension in ruling BJD over distribution tickets has pushed the party to a much embarrassing situation with several leaders quitting the party questioning the state of affairs in the regional party.
The latest leader to quit the party during the last fortnight is former minister Praveen Bhanjadeo, a member of royal family of Mayurbhanj and sitting party MLA from Morada Assembly seat.
Bhanjadeo Monday sent his resignation letter to party supremo Naveen Patnaik resigning from the primary membership of the party as well as Mayurbhanj district president of the party.
A peeved Bhanjadeo told newsmen that indiscipline rules the roost in the party and senior leaders are ignored and humiliated while those coming from the other political parties are given party tickets to contest the elections.
Sources said Bhanjadeo was unhappy as the party is mulling the idea to project a candidate who had lost the Assembly elections thrice in the past.
He was obviously referring to recent joining of BJP leader Raj Kishore Das in BJD and inclined to contest the Soroda Assembly seat replacing Bhanjadeo.
Political observers said never in his 19-year tenure, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had faced the wrath of his partymen questioning the internal democracy and the functioning of party affairs after being denied party tickets.
The BJD had so far dropped 15 sitting MPs while announcing candidates for 18 of the total Lok Sabha (LS) seats and 35 sitting MLAs from among 126 of the total 147 seats declared so far.
At least six sitting BJD MLAs and one sitting MP will seek re-election from BJP besides several former MLAs of BJD who have quit the party after being denied party ticket and joined the BJP.
BJD veteran leader and eight times MP form Bhadrak (SC) LS seat Arjun Charan Sethi who resigned from the party March 30 along with his son Abhimanyu Sethi joined the BJP the same day.
Sethi had a wish that his son Abhimanyu would contest the Bhadrak LS seat held by him for eight times in the past but the BJD preferred woman candidate Manjulata Mandal, wife of sitting MLA Muktikant Mandal to contest the LS seat.
The BJP which inducted both Arjun Sethi and his son Abhimanyu, Monday announced the name of the latter for the Bhadrak LS seat.
Two founding leaders of BJD – Baijayant Panda and Damodar Rout are now the star campaigners in the BJP after they left the party and joined the BJP.
While Panda is seeking election from Kendrapara LS seat which he held twice in 2009 and 2014 elections, Rout is nominated to contest Erasama Balikuda instead of Paradip which he won in 2009 and 2014 Assembly elections as BJD candidate.
Rout had, however, won the Ersama Assembly seat, his home constituency, five times in the past.
Similarly, former Puri Municipality chairman Jayanta Sharagi aspiring for a ticket to contest the Assembly election when denied party ticket joined the BJP Saturday and the party nominated his name for Puri Assembly seat where he will take on a senior leader and Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty who has been winning the seat for last five times in a row since 1995 elections.
BJD Nilagiri sitting MLA Sukanta Nayak who also resigned from the party after being denied party ticket, had joined the BJP and has been nominated by the party to contest election from Nilagiri Assembly segment.
Two former BJD MPs – Laxman Tudu and Mohan Jena –also joined the BJP, but the party is yet to take any decision to field them in the coming elections.
Sitting BJD MP Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh from Kandhamal had also quit the party and joined the BJP and made the vice president of state BJP Mahila Morcha unit.
Likewise, Nabarangpur MP Balabhadra Majhi has quit the BJD and joined the saffron party, which has fielded him from the constituency as its LS candidate.
Political observers felt that the resignation of several party leaders, sitting MLAs and MPs of ruling BJD will upset the poll calculation of the ruling party which had won 117 of total 147 Assembly seats in 2014 Assembly elections.
The ruling BJD had also won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 general elections.