Berhampur: Suspense continues to plague the choice of BJD nominee from Gopalpur Assembly segment in Ganjam district as the days for the general elections draws near, a report said.
The current MLA Pradip Kumar Panigrahi also held the post from this constituency in the 2009 and 2014 elections and became a minister for three years in the fourth term of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik led government.
He was a minister of state (independent charge) for higher education, science and technology and rural water supply in the state government.
He is the general secretary of state BJD and the district president of the party and devoting his time in strengthening the party network after he was replaced as a minister. He is also the party observer for Gajapati district.
However, with few months left for the election no particular name of a candidate is forthcoming as the candidate from Gopalpur constituency.
Observers claimed that the ruling BJD which has launched a campaign for 33 per cent reservation for women might field Pradeep’s wife Sujata Panigrahi from this constituency while keeping the former engaged in organizational work.
Their claim stems from the fact that Sujata is now regularly attending various party programmes along with her husband which was not seen earlier. Earlier, Sujata never attended any party programme during the decade long tenure of her husband.
Sujata for the last one week is regularly attending party programmes along with her husband. They expect that Pradip will also push for his wife’s candidature to keep the power in hand while the party might field Sujata from Gopalpur.
On the other hand, it is suspected that the BJD might give tickets to 33 per cent of women leaders in the party.
Three women leaders of the party namely Sugnana Kumari Deo, Usha Devi and Nandini Devi represent three of the 13 constituencies for the party. The party will achieve its 33 per cent reservation demand if these three women are repeated again in this year’s elections.
Pradip will make all efforts to keep the seat with him in case the party do not gives ticket to his wife. He may try to give the ticket to the person most loyal to him in this election. It is believed that he might recommend the name of party’s district vice-president Uma Charan Nayak as the MLA candidate.
Five wards of Berhampur Municpal Corporation from ward no -36 to 40 comes under Gopalpur Assembly segment. Nayak is a resident of ward no-37 and has been loyal to Panigrahi since long. He started his political career as a student leader and takes inspiration from late Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.