BJP still undecided over nominee choice in Telkoi

  • | Monday | 22nd April, 2024

Election for the Telkoi Assembly (ST) Constituency is going to be held on May 25 and the last date for filing nomination is April 29. In the meanwhile, BJD and Congress have declared their candidates. While Madhab Sardar is the candidate for BJD, Nirmal Naiks son Pranabandhu Naik, a former MLA, is the candidate of the Congress. So far, the BJP has not declared its candidate which is a matter of concern not only for the supporters of BJP but also for the aspirants as well.   In the beginning, there were two contenders in the camp of BJP for ticket to contest from Telkoi but with the latest joining of Vedavyasa Naik, a long time BJD leader, in the BJP on April 17, it has made difficult for the top brass to decide on the fittest candidate. As regards Vedavyasa, he is a former BJD MLA of Telkoi from 2009 to 2014. Besides, he is son of Niladri Naik, who is a six- time MLA of Telkoi and president of Janata Dal of Keonjhar for a long time. But the problem of Vedavyasa is that he has his own independent thinking and cant allow anyone to dictate terms to him.   It is known to all in the district that former Minister Badri Narayan Patra is considered a key person in Keonjhar politics. In order to be successful, one has to get the favour of Badri which Vedavyasa failed to do and faced its consequences in the last two elections. After cutting the wings of Vedavyasa, Prema Naik was elected two times from 2014 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2024. Prema was in the good books of Badri till he was an MLA. But relations between them got strained after Prema was made a Minister replacing Badri. Prema was sure this time he was not going to get a BJD ticket; so, he left BJD and joined the BJP with the hope that the BJP will nominate him.  After Premas departure from BJD, chances for a ticket for Vedavyasa in BJD were strong. But this time also, Badri stood on the way and canvassed for his faithful disciple Madhab Sardar, who is a former Congress MP. Denied a ticket for 3 consecutive times, Vedavyasa had no options but to join BJP whose popularity has been growing in Telkoi. Last time in 2019, there was a keen contest between BJD and BJP and Prema (BJD) had won from the seat by defeating Dhanurjaya Sidhu of BJP by a margin of about 4,000 votes. But Sidhu later resigned from the BJP and is now contesting on a BJD ticket from Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat.   As of now, there are mainly three contenders in race for BJP ticket in Telkoi such as (1) Dr Fakir Naik, a physician who has left his Government job to contest election and has been active in BJP organisation works for the last two to three years, (2) Prema Naik and (3) Vedavyasa Naik. It is up to the BJP State leadership to take a judicious decision so that the saffron candidate can give a tough fight to the BJD.

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