Odisha Elections: Will Ex-Minister Rabi Nanda Switch Over To BJP If Denied Jeypore Assembly Ticket By BJD?

Koraput: With Biju Janata Dal (BJD) yet to announce its candidates for several Assembly constituencies for the upcoming polls, speculation is rife that former Minister Rabi Narayan Nanda may switch over to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if he is denied a ticket by the ruling party BJD to contest from Jeypore seat.

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While BJP has not declared its nominee for the seat so far, BJD is yet to confirm its ticket either to Nanda or his wife Indira. Therefore, it is widely speculated that the former Jeypore MLA may join the saffron camp to save his political career.

As per reports, Nanda along with his supporters met BJD’s top brass in Bhubaneswar two days ago and expressed his desire to contest the Assembly elections from Jeypore. However, he failed to get any specific assurance by the regional party about his candidature.

While BJD appears to be in a fix over Jeypore seat, Nanda has been lobbying hard for himself or his wife.

On the other hand, BJP seems to be waiting for the ruling BJD to announce its candidate before deciding on whom to nominate from the seat. As per reports, BJP may induct Nanda into the party and field him in Jaypore as its candidate if the former Minister fails to get a BJD ticket.

Supporters of Nanda feel that there is a strong wave in favour of BJP in Jeypore Assembly segment due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, Nanda is maintaining silence and has adopted a wait-and-watch strategy as he is expecting a BJD ticket at least for his wife Indira.

Political observers are of the opinion that BJD will most probably make Nanda the candidate as he is still considered their best bet. However, the ruling party will definitely reconsider if Congress MLA Tata Prasad Bahinipati Bahinipati joins the outfit. In the existing scenario, Nanda happens to be the front runner for BJD ticket as he has a very good organisation and support base.

Nanda had won three consecutive Assembly elections from Jeypore in 2000, 2004 and 2009 elections. However, he lost the seat in 2014 and 2019 elections to Congress rival Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

In 2019 polls, Nanda secured 54,334 votes while Bahinipati polled 59,785 votes and emerged the winner. Similarly in 2014, Nanda had got 57,011 votes and Bahinipati secured 65,378 votes.

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