Odisha: Rebel Dhamnagar Candidate Rajendra Kumar Das Expelled From BJD
Bhubaneswar: The BJD on Wednesday expelled former MLA Rajendra Das, who is contesting the Dhamnagar bypoll as a rebel candidate, from the party for anti-party activities.
The expulsion was on the cards after he filed his nomination from the assembly constituency, where voting will be held on November 3, as an independent and refused to budge despite efforts by senior leaders to placate him.
Das was a strong contender for the ticket having lost the 2019 election to Bishnu Sethi, whose demise necessitated the by-election, by a slender margin. Playing the woman card, the regional party instead fielded his protege Abanti Das to counter the sympathy wave in favour of the BJP candidate Suryabanshi Suraj Sthitaprajna.
Das’ entry has made Dhamnagar by-election a four-horse race and 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.
The bypoll will also prove to be a litmus test for Das since several BJD leaders in the past have receded to obscurity after being expelled from the party.