Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is sitting on a bomb called ‘rebels’ and it will explode in the 2024 General Elections, said BJP State General Secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan on Tuesday.

Hinting at the rebel conundrum which resulted in BJD's defeat in Dhamnagar bypoll, Harichandan said, Raju Das is just the beginning and there are 147 rebels the BJD is set to witness in the coming elections.

“The BJD is sitting on a live bomb called rebels and it can explode any time now," said Harichandan.

The Congress party too had a similar opinion on the ruling BJD. Speaking about the rebel candidates in the BJD, veteran Congress leader and Jatni MLA, Suresh Routray said, “Raju Das demonstrated that he had worked day in day out for 30 years, he even worshipped Naveen Patnaik. And such kind of results emerge when they can’t recognise his loyalty.”

However, the BJD refuted the claims. Speaking to reporters, MLA, Padmanabh Behera said, “We have been in power for a long time and it has never happened in the past. Dhamnagar is an anomaly and there is no rebel problem in the party.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the BJD had faced same kind of rebel problem in the last Balasore Sadar bypolls, when Rabindra Jena faction rebelled against the BJD after the party made Swaroop Das its candidate. Though the party managed to pacify Jena and his supporters in Balasore, it has apparently failed to do the same in Dhamnagar.

BJP candidate Suryabanshi Suraj, son of late party MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, defeated his nearest BJD rival Abanti Das by 9,881 votes in recently concluded Dhamnagar by-elections. While Suraj secured 80,351 votes, Das got 70,470 votes, according to the Election Commission.

The BJP won the by-election by 9,881 votes, more than double compared to its margin of 4,625 votes in the 2019 assembly polls, while its vote share increased from 47.47 per cent to 49.1 per cent.

(Reported By Harihar Chand, OTV)