Odisha Elections: Will BJD Retain Ex-Minister Raghunandan Das In Balikuda-Erasama Assembly Seat?

Jagatsinghpur: Having denied tickets to two sitting party MLAs in Jagatsinghpur, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is yet to decide its candidate for Balikuda-Erasama Assembly constituency for the upcoming elections in Odisha. The ruling party seems to be carefully assessing political configuration in the area to pick the right nominee.

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Amid the rapidly changing political configurations, the spotlight now appears to be on sitting MLA from the constituency and former Minister Raghunandan Das as he faces strong opposition from local leaders, besides internal conflicts and rising concerns about his health impacting his chances.

Raghunandan Das and his supporters are eagerly waiting for the party’s decision. Many of his supporters have been visiting the residence of the legislator in Bhubaneswar. In view of the delay, they are stated to be sceptical of his renomination. They are more uncertain particularly in view of change of candidates by BJD in two other Assembly segments in Jagatsinghpur.

The regional party has replaced sitting MLA from Tirtol Bijay Shankar Das with Ramakant Bhoi over allegations of marital discord. Similarly, Sambit Routray, sitting MLA of Paradip, was replaced by his wife Gitanjali Routray amidst dissent and waning popularity.

Opposing any move to renominate Das, several local BJD leaders in Erasama and Balikuda have stepped up their protest against the sitting legislator and urged the party leadership not to field him again from the constituency.

On the other hand, several aspiring BJD candidates along with their supporters are lobbying at BJD headquarters Sankha Bhawan in Bhubaneswar for party ticket from Balikuda-Erasama constituency.

However, Raghunandan remains optimistic despite facing opposition, claiming that he enjoys  strong support from grassroots-level elected representatives. Stating that the final decision rests with the BJD leadership, he said BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will take the right decision at the right time.

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