Odisha Elections 2024: Old Opponents Jual Oram & Dilip Tirkey Lock Horns Again In Sundargarh LS Seat

Rourkela: Ten years after losing the Lok Sabha electoral battle to former Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, former Rajya Sabha member and captain of the Indian hockey team Dilip Tirkey has once again locked horns as BJD candidate with the BJP’s old war horse in Odisha’s Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat.

Oram had defeated Tirkey by a margin of 18,829 votes in Sundargarh Lok Sabha elections in 2014. At the time, Tirkey was a Rajya Sabha member with BJD’s support after he ceased to be the captain of the Indian hockey team. He did not contest 2019 elections though his Rajya Sabha tenure ended in 2018. Oram won 2019 elections once again.

Congress’ Janardan Dehury is in the race this year also. But all eyes are on Oram and Tirkey. While senior BJP leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party’s national president JP Nadda have been campaigning for Oram, the BJD is also not sitting idle.

If the saffron party is targeting BJD government by raising issues like Ratna Bhandar and Ayushman Bharat Yojana, chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik has declared free electricity for all if BJD comes to power again.

Dilip Ray Matter

Industrialist Dilip Ray is also back in the electoral politics after a decade as BJP nominee for Rourkela Assembly seat. He resigned from BJP in 2018 as his demands for a bridge over Brahmani and a superspeciality hospital in Rourkela were not heeded.

The people of Rourkela have a soft corner for Ray who has always stood by them in thick and thin. Ray’s entry may prove a huge plus factor in favour of Oram.

Hockey In Play

Both BJD and BJP are also exploiting Sundargarh people’s love for hockey. The BJD has been highlighting the Hockey World Cup at Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela and its support to hockey legend Dilip Tirkey.

The BJP also played the hockey card as it promptly welcomed former India hockey captain Prabodh Tirkey to the party after he left the Congress as the grand old part withdrew the ticket given to him from Talasara Assembly constituency.

Sports apart, BJP is harping on the Modi guarantee and BJD is highlighting on development. The Christians, who form a sizeable population in the constituency, may go for BJD while the tribals would find Oram as safe bait.

The BJD has never won from Sundargarh, while Oram has won five times and the Congress seven times.

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