BJD today appeared to have avoided a 'husband-wife' fight in Koraput Lok Sabha seat by fielding Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka against Congress nominee Giridhar Gamang even as the ruling party pitted a family member of BJP state president K V Singhdeo to contest against him in Patnagarh assembly segment.
Announcing the final list of candidates for the April 10 polling in 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik said Jhina Hikaka, who was abducted by Maoists in March 2012, would be party candidate from Koraput Lok Sabha seat in place of sitting MP Jayram Pangi.
Gamang's wife and former Koraput MP Hema Gamang, who joined BJD last week, was named the BJD candidate in place of Jhina Hikaka from Laxmipur assembly segment.
Hema, who was had also been MLA grom Gunupur had earlier indicated her readiness to contest from Koraput Lok Sabha seat against former chief minister and her husband Giridhar Gamang. "I am ready to conest from Koraput LS seat. It does not matter if the rival candidate is from my family," Hema had told reporters after joing BJD.
Though observers felt that BJD avoided a wife-huaband tussle in Koraput, the ruling party fielded Prakuti Devi Singh Deo from Patnagarh assembly seat where K V Singhdeo, elder brother of her husband Srivardhan Singhdeo, is BJP candidate.
Similarly, K V Singhdeo's wife and former MP Sangeeta Singhdeo of BJP will face her brother-in-law (Devar) Kalikesh Singhdeo of BJD in Bolangir Lok Sabha seat.
BJD also nominated Hemendra Singh, who recently joined the party after quiting Congress, from Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat in place of sitting MP Rudhra Madhav Ray.
Two sitting MLAs - A U Singhdeo from Bolangir has meanwhile been elected to Rajya Sabha while Jhina Hikaka is now made a party candidate from Koraput seat.
Of the 10 Lok Sabha seats going to polls in the first phase on April 10, the ruling BJD had nominated eight new persons while renominating Siddhant Mohapatra in Berhampur seat and Kalikesh Narayan Singh from Bolangir.