Bhubaneswar, March 27 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has appointed top-brass leader Pranab Prakash Das as party observer for four districts — Dhenkanal, Angul, Sambalpur and Keonjhar in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is likely to contest elections either from Dhenkanal (Angul district also comes under this seat) or Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat.
Besides, Sambalpur MLA segment is represented by Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra while BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi belongs to Keonjhar district. Both are strong critics of Naveen Patnaik government in the Assembly.
Keeping this in mind, the ruling party has assigned its influential and powerful leader Das for the districts, said a local political observer.
Pranab Prakash Das, popularly known as Bobby Das, is an MLA from Jajpur Assembly constituency and working as general secretary (organization), a post created by the party in 2020 for him. He is treated as the most powerful and influential politician in the BJD after president Naveen Patnaik.
“To strengthen our organisation and to ensure that the state government schemes and programmes reach to the people at ground-level, the party has appointed new observers,” said BJD leader and government chief ship Prasanta Muduli.
Everyone is aware about the organisational skill and ability of Pranab Prakash Das, who always gave suggestions to strengthen the BJD in various districts and areas, he said.
There is no doubt that Dhenkanal, Angul, Sambalpur and Keonjhar are the focus districts in political view and BJD will decently perform well in these districts during next election, claimed Muduli.
In 2019 polls, the BJD had won Dhenkanal and Keonjhar LS seats while BJP had bagged the Sambalpur seat.
The regional party has appointed observers for other districts too.
Senior leaders and ministers Tukuni Sahu, Usha Devi and Rohit Pujari, who featured in the observers’ list released in October last year, have been dropped. Similarly, BJD leader Nalinikanta Pradhan, who was the observer for Sambalpur district, has also been dropped from the list.
On the other hand, Amaresh Jena (Deogarh), Rabindra Kumar Jena (Khurda) and Debesh Acharya (Sonepur) have been included in the fresh list.
Senior leader and Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak has been given the responsibility of two south Odisha districts “Rayagada and Gajapati while Dibya Shankar Mishra will look after the organisation in another two south districts” Malkangiri and Koraput.
Following the party’s poor show in Dhamnagar bypoll, the BJD has assigned senior lawmaker Pratap Jena to strengthen the party in Bhadrak district, which is also the native district of newly-appointed BJP state president Manmohan Samal.