Dhamnagar Bypoll In Odisha: Will Rebel BJD Leader Rajendra Das Withdraw Nominations Today?
Bhubaneswar: With the last date for withdrawal of nomination for bypoll to Dhamnagar Assembly constituency in Odisha’s Bhadrak district, all eyes are on Rajendra Das, the rebel BJD candidate, whom the party is yet to expel for the revolt hoping for a positive outcome to efforts to placate him.
While several senior BJD leaders are trying to convince Das by offering him plum positions in the party, he reportedly has sought the post of deputy chairman, the state planning board, as a return gift for the withdrawal of papers as an independent candidate.
Speaking to the media, Das, however, asserted that there was no question of withdrawal of nomination. “Dhamnagar people have encouraged me to fight an election for my self-esteem and that of the constituency. I am with the people and would not succumb to any other pressure,” he said.
Das jumping into the fray at the last minute had queered the ruling party’s pitch, which played the woman card by fielding Tihidi block chairperson Abanti Das to counter the sympathy wave in favour of the BJP candidate Suryabanshi Suraj Sthitaprajna, son of Bishnu Sethi whose demise necessitated the by-election, while making the contest interesting
If Das remains firm on his decision, the BJD, which has won all five by-elections since 2019, will have to counter the dual challenge of defeating its opponents as well as the dissidence factor, which is likely to split some party votes. Congress’ Baba Harekrushna Sethi is also in the fray.
The BJP, on the other hand, has a lot at stake at Dhamnagar and the crisis in the BJD may come as a shot in the arm for the BJP candidate with past experience of sympathy wave not having worked in its favour as was the case in Balasore bypoll where Manas Dutta, son of former MLA Madan Mohan Dutta, lost to BJD’s Swarup Kumar Das by a margin of over 13,000 votes.