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Pradeep Singh

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha has been witnessing an intense infighting for the past several months, especially following the recent rural and the urban polls in the State. After expose of simmering discordance in the BJD units of Ganjam, Rayagada, Sundargarh and Kendrapara, two more party heavyweights have found themselves entangled in an ugly spat. 

Ahead of the 2024 general elections, a showdown between senior BJD leader Debashish Samantaray and Paradip MLA Sambit Routray has now caught everyone's attention. 

Samantaray, who had lost his Barabati seat to Congress leader Mohammed Moquim in 2019 polls, is said to be keen for a contest from the Paradip Assembly seat in 2024, while Routray, son of BJD veteran Damodar Rout is eyeing for a second term from the constituency.

Recently on the occasion of Biju Shramika Dibasa, Samantaray took an indirect dig at Routray and openly raised voice alleging Paradip MLA's indifference towards development in the constituency. 

Samantaray alleged that the beneficiaries are deprived of Shram card and no one will listen to till a massive protest erupts in Paradip. "Even if I don't do it, I know the next generation will resort to the same. How long can they keep their patience?" he challenged. 

Routray, later, took a dig at Samantaray and said, "There's no problem in dreaming, but daydreaming is very dangerous. Efforts should be there to win the hearts of people. But it's impossible to gain and reach new heights by criticising others."

Taking a jibe at Samantaray, former BJD leader and Routray's father Dama Rout said, "I think he (Samantaray) can no longer go to the Legislative Assembly. What does he know about Paradip? His job is that of a contractor and so he is getting impatient to go to Paradip so that he can get some works from companies like IOCL." 

Meanwhile, Debashish Samantaray could not be contacted to comment on the allegations of Dama Rout.

BJD infighting out in openBJD infighting out in open

It is worth mentioning that Samantaray-Routray fight is not new. Earlier, Debashish Samantaray was the MLA of Tirtol Assembly constituency. However, the Assembly seat was reserved for Schedule Caste in 2009, and since then, Samantaray has been reportedly eyeing the Paradip seat.

On the other hand, political analysts believe that the BJD may face the 'problem of surplus' in many Assembly constituencies during 2024 general polls. 

"BJD infighting has become intense in many constituencies. Such conflicts were earlier witnessed during the Panchayat polls and they will only get more intense if the party president Naveen Patnaik doesn't intervene with an iron fist," said political expert, Rabi Das.

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