Pradeep Pattanayak

The expected dissidence after the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) fielded Abanti Das as its candidate for the Dhamnagar by-poll, putting aside two former MLAs is out in the open. 

On Thursday, hundreds of supporters of former MLA Rajendra Das gathered at his residence in Bhadrak town and were seen sloganeering ‘Raju Das Nahin Ta Vote Nahin’ (If there is no Raju Das, there would be no voting) all throughout the day. 

Registering their dissatisfaction over Rajendra Das being sidelined, the former legislator’s supporters urged him to contest independently. 

Even posts announcing that Das is contesting the by-poll independently are doing the rounds on social media platforms. This apart, a handwritten letter where Das has vented his ire for being ignored has also gone viral. 

It is now discussed that the dissidence suppressed at the Chief Minister’s grievance cell has come to the fore in Bhadrak. 

It is also discussed that the party has zeroed in on Abanti Das with an aim to avoid any unprecedented situation as two former MLAs Rajendra Das and Muktikanta Mandal have been at loggerheads. 

But despite the best efforts of the party, the dissidence has finally been out in the open. 

Seeing the situation going from bad to worse, a team of the conch party on Thursday did their level best to pacify Das and his disgruntled supporters. 

“If the party had no intention to give him the ticket, it should have been clarified from the very beginning. The way he was kept hanging is not acceptable. We wish he should file nomination papers as an independent candidate,” observed Sasadhar Samal, Rajendra Das’s supporter. 

Another theory claiming the ticket was denied to Rajendra Das because of the objection put up by Chanbali MLA Byomakesh Ray, former Dhamnagar MLA Muktikanta Mandal and former Dhamnagar block chairman Ashok Nayak is also doing the rounds. 

Meanwhile, Rajendra Das broke his silence on contesting the by-poll as an independent candidate on Thursday. 

“I will not take any decision on my own. I will do what the people want me to do. If they want me to file nomination papers as an independent candidate, I will do that,” said Das. 

On the other hand, the BJD said Das wouldn’t do anything as speculated. 

“I have full faith in Raju bhai (Rajendra Das). I don’t think he would put up any rebellion and file nomination as an independent candidate,” said BJD MP Munna Khan