With ruling BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announcing 33 per cent reservation for them in the coming Lok Sabha elections, women aspirants are now making a beeline lobbying hard for party tickets.
With Patnaiks announcement, the BJD has to field at least seven women candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in Odisha which has 21 Parliamentary seats.
However, the BJD has not announced any such reservation for women in the election for the state Assembly which will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls next month.
The women's wing of the BJP is also gearing up with a campaign within the party to field more female candidates.
However, the BJD's decision appears to have made the task tough for the ruling party in the face of overwhelming response from women.
Though reservation was announced only for Lok Sabha elections, women aspirants feel the BJD may field equal ratio of female candidates in the Assembly polls too. The state has 147 assembly seats and 21 Lok Sabha segments.
Fearing denial of party tickets this time, many experienced party leader are lobbying for their wives.
Party sources said the wives of at least three BJD MPs have so far met the chief minister and expressed their desire to contest the polls.
"I do not know whether the party will make me a candidate. I am new to politics, but I have categorically told the chief minister to field me from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat if my husband is denied the ticket," Malavika Devi told reporters after meeting Patnaik two days ago.
Hikaka was kidnapped by Naxals in 2012 when he was Laxmipur MLA between 2009 and 2014.
With the possibility of the BJD denying a ticket to Jena this time for his alleged role in the chit-fund scam, his wife may replace him, sources said.
The total number of women MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly is 12.
Simultaneous polling will be held in Odisha for its 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 Assembly constituencies in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)