Berhampur: Entry of rebel candidates of BJD has posed a serious threat to the ruling party nominees in the run-up to Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) election in Odisha on September 19.
Denied party ticket, the rebel candidates have filed their nominations as independents in at least six wards in the 40-ward corporation in Ganjam district.
At least two senior party leaders, former chairperson of Berhampur municipality Sulochana Swain and former president of BJD`s town unit Niranjan Jena have quit the party and are contesting the polls on Congress ticket.
Sitting corporator KK Mishra is now contesting as a BJP candidate after being denied ticket by the BJD.
The Congress is trying to cash in on the intra-party squabbling in the ruling party.
BJD leaders, however, said there is no internal wrangling in the paty.
"We hope the rebels, who have filed nominations as independents, will withdraw their papers in favour of the party candidates," BJD`s district unit president Subash Moharana said.
Action would be taken against those who have gone against the party`s decision, he added.
Moharana said over 160 aspirants had applied for party tickets and the selection of candidates was made considering all aspects.
While the BJD is contesting in all 40 wards, Congress has put up candidates in 39 wards and BJP has filed nominations in 35 wards. As many as 157 persons have filed their nominations.
The exact number of contestants would be known on August 29, the last date of the withdrawal of nominations.
In the last elections held in 2008, BJD had won in 14 wards in 37-ward Berhampur municipality.
The number of wards increased to 40 after delimitation. Congress and BJP had won in 11 and three wards respectively while nine persons were elected as independents. BJD candidate Siba Shankar Dash was elected unopposed. The strength of the BJD had increased to 22 when the BJP corporators and several independents joined the ruling party.