The Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to project senior leader Dharmendra Pradhan, 40, as its chief ministerial candidate in Orissa after its alliance with the Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal came to an end on March 7.
The BJP's central election committee on Friday cleared its six sitting MPs to seek re-election, with the exception of Pradhan's constituency Deogarh, leading to speculations that he will be the party's CM candidate for the assembly elections that will be heldÂ simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.
Besides the sitting Parliamenterains, the CEC also named Draupadi Murmuru as its candidate from the Mayurbhanj (Scheduled Tribe) seat that was won last time by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. BJP Vice-President and former union minister Jual Oram will be seeking re-election from Sundargarh.
The party sources declined to comment on why the party has declared candidates for only seven out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
A senior party leader informed that the caught unawares by the BJD's decision to end the alliance, the BJP had not had enough time to finalise its candidates, but will soon do so on the basis of recommendations from state units.