Odisha Elections 2024: Samir Das’ Role Decisive In Nimapara

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: After winning three consecutive Assembly elections from Nimapara, senior leader Samir Ranjan Das is now in a different role in 2024 polls. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) dropped him this time and nominated Dilip Nayak for Nimapara seat. After being denied BJD ticket, Samir held big rallies with his supporters in a massive show of strength and urged the party to reconsider the decision. As his pleas went unheeded, the senior leader finally quit BJD and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the midst of the ongoing twin polls in the state. Once considered the BJD face in Nimapara, Samir is now chalking out a masterplan against the ruling party. While BJP has fielded Pravati Parida in the Assembly constituency, veteran leader Suresh Routray’s son Sidharth Routray is in the race as Congress candidate.

Samir Factor In Nimapara

After his maiden victory from Nimapara in 2009, Samir won the subsequent two polls from the Assembly constituency in 2014 and 2019. He was also a Minister in the Naveen Patnaik government. However, the ruling party chose Dilip this time, sparking resentment in Samir and his supporters. Large rallies of thousands of people were organised twice in the area in a show of power. As the regional party stuck to its decision, Samir switched sides to BJP along with his supporters, upsetting the political equations in Nimapara. Observers are of the view that his entry into the BJP fold is likely to create problems for BJD.

New Strategy By Worried BJD

Apparently worried over the exit of Samir, the ruling BJD appears to have worked out a fresh strategy to prevent any major damage to its poll prospects in Nimapara. The regional party has appointed eight election coordinators for Nimapara Assembly constituency which will go to polls in the fourth and final round on June 1. The eight newly-appointed election coordinators are – Subashish Khuntia, Umakant Samantharay, Rudra Pratap Maharathy, Rama Ranjan Baliarsingh, Sangram Paikray, Kamal Patra, Sunil Mohanty and Dibakar Patra. Most of them have already been camping in the Assembly constituency.

This apart, BJD has also appointed eight observers, including Amaresh Jena and Latika Pradhan, to counter Samir. The move came particularly after Samir asserted that BJP nominee Pravati Parida is all set to win by a huge margin. The regional party is aware of Samir’s potential and it is leaving no stone unturned to stop the ex-Minister from causing any harm to BJD prospects.

Upbeat BJP

With the entry of Samir, BJP has been further strengthened in Nimapara as the former Minister is making all out efforts to ensure victory for the saffron party, which had won the seat in 2004 elections. He has also been appointed spokesman of the state BJP, besides functioning as the election observer of the party in Kakatpur, Nimapara, Pipili and Satyabadi.

Dilip In Crisis?

Dilip is in the fray as BJD candidate after parting ways with BJP. However, open revolt by Samir and his departure from BJD has posed a major challenge for him. The ruling BJD organisation in the area was under the control of Samir for the last 15 years and the party has witnessed a split after he joined BJP. Saffron party candidate Pravati also happens to be a seasoned leader. Therefore, her prospects will be brightened if BJP keeps its votes intact and Samir’s supporters along with the organisational strength extend full support.

Congress On Front Foot

Veteran leader Sura Routray’s elder son Sidharth Routray has been fielded by Congress in Nimapara. He has been working at the grassroots level in the area for quite some time to strengthen the party organisation. Known for his unique approach and frankness, Sidharth is set to give a tough fight to BJD and BJP. With his support base getting expanded, Congress may play a decisive role in Nimapara this time. If the grand old party manages to bag its traditional votes, it may cause damage to BJD’s electoral prospects.

Though Samir is not in the race this time, he is likely to become a major factor in Nimapara this time.

OB Bureau

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