The ruling BJD Tuesday said it has kept its promise of fielding women candidates in 33 per cent seats for the coming Lok Sabha elections in Odisha.
"The BJD has fielded 33 per cent women candidates for the state's 21 Lok Sabha seats. We stand by our promise made in this regard," BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters after announcing the candidature of Chandrani Murmu as the party's nominee for Keonjhar (ST) seat.
Murmu, a technocrat who joined BJD on Monday, was named as its BJD candidate for the seat Tuesday. She has replaced the sitting MP Sakuntala Laguri.
The women candidates of the party are all new faces. They have been put up in seats like Aska (Pramila Bisoi), Bhadrak (Manjulata Mandal), Jagatsinghpur (Rajashree Mallick), Jajpur (Sarmistha Sethi), Koraput (Kausalya Hikaka), Sundergarh (Sunita Biswal) and Keonjhar (Chandrani Murmu).
Patnaik, however, denied tickets to two sitting women MPs - Pratyusha Rajeswar Singh(Kandhamal) and Sakuntala Laguri (Keonjhar). Singh has resigned from the BJD and joined BJP.
Patnaik also named party's sitting MLA from Pallahara, Mahesh Sahoo as BJD candidate from Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat.
Dhenkanal MP Tathagat Satpathy had announced that he would not contest the 2019 elections.
With the announcement of candidates for Keonjhar and Dhenkanal, BJD has completed fielding nominees in all the 21 Lok Sabha seats.
Patnaik has retained four sitting MPs to contest the Lok Sabha polls and fielded new candidates in 17 other places.
The party has fielded new candidates in the Lok Sabha seats of Aska (Pramila Bisoi), Berhampur (Chandrasekhar Sahu), Bhadrak (Manjulata Mandal), Bargarh (Prasanna Acharya), Dhenkanal (Mahesh Sahoo), Koraput (Kausalya Hikaka), Kalahandi (Pushpendra Singhdeo).
He also fielded candidates for Kandhamal (Achyut Samanta), Kendrapara (Anubhav Mohanty), Keonjkhar (Chandrani Murmu), Nabarangpur (Ramesh Chandra Majhi), Jajgatsinghpur (Rajashree Mallick), Jajpur (Sarmistha Sethi), Sundergarh (Sunita Biswal), Sambalpur (Nalini Pradhan), Mayurbhanj (Debasish Marandi) and Bhubaneswar (Arup Patnaik).
Patnaik has also fielded three Rajya Sabha MPs Prasanna Acharya, Achyut Samant and Anubhav Mohanty for the Lok Sabha elections and another upper house member S R Patnaik in Khandapada assembly seat.
Simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly polls will be held in four phased polls in the state starting from April 11 this month.
Patnaik also announced names of seven other assembly seats and denied party tickets to five sitting MLAs, including to Bijay Mohanty.