The Naveen Patnaik led ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has denied tickets to three chit fund scam accused to contest the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
All three had been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) probing into the multi-crore scam under the direction of the Supreme Court. They are now out on bail.
The three senior BJD leaders are – Pravat Ranjan Tripathy and Prabhat Ranjan Biswal, the sitting ruling party MLAs from coastal Banki and Choudwar-Cuttack constituencies respectively as well as Rama Chandra Hansdah, the sitting MP from tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj seat.
BJD president Patnaik, however, has granted party nominations to sons of two of the three dropped scam-tainted leaders. Devi Ranjan Tripathy, son of Pravat Tripathy will step into his father’s shoes and contest the polls from Banki assembly constituency. 31-year-old Devi, a master in business administration, is not new to politics. He is the working president of Biju Chatra Janata Dal(BCJD), the student wing of the regional outfit.
Similarly, Prabhat Biswal’s son, Souvic Biswal will be contesting on BJD ticket from his father’s Choudwar-Cuttack seat. However, Hansdah, the sitting MP from Mayurbhanj has been replaced by Debasish Marandi who is not related to him.
Patnaik’s decision to grant party nominations to the sons of two chit fund scam accused has provided his detractors a handle to beat him and his party with on the eve of the important twin elections in the state.
Prime minister Narendra Modi who visited the state last week and addressed an election rally in Jaypore in tribal-dominated Koraput district had raised the chit fund scam issue in his speech and appealed the people not to vote the BJD to power again. “The party which was involved in multi-crore chit funds scam which inflicted huge financial difficulties on thousands of common people should not be voted to power again”, he said.