Pradeep Pattanayak

Today being the last date for filing nomination for the by-poll to the Dhamnagar seat, all eyes are now set on former Dhamnagar legislator and BJD leader Rajendra Das who has filed his nomination for the by-election.

Prior to filing the nomination, in his reaction to OTV, Das had said that he would file nomination as an independent candidate for the by-election. Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress have fielded Suryabanshi Suraj, son of sitting MLA late Bishnu Charan Sethi, and Baba Harekrushna Sethi respectively to contest for the seat. 

It was the Biju Janata Dal who came last in announcing its candidate for the by-election. It announced Abanti Das’s name as its candidate only yesterday. 

However, the announcement has laid bare the dissension in the party. During the run-up to the announcement, the names of former Dhamnagar MLAs Rajendra Das and Muktikanta Mandal were emerging as potential nominees to get tickets. 

With the announcement of Abanti Das’s name as the party’s candidate, dissension in the party has touched fever pitch in Bhadrak where Rajendra Das’s supporters urged the latter to file nomination papers as an independent candidate. 

Before leaving for filing nomination, Das had also said, “I believe people have more sympathy on me. This is because I lost the last election by a very slender margin. In fact a wicked gang conspired to defeat me.”

When asked about his position between the BJP’s candidate Suryabanshi Suraj, son of late Bishnu Charan Sethi, BJD’s Abanti Das and Congress’s Baba Harekrushna Sethi, Das had said, “The wicked gang is still there but I largely count on people’s love and affection towards me.”

In the political corridors, it is being discussed that there will be a big rebellion after Das's filing nomination as an independent candidate. 

Notably, a four-member BJD team had visited Bhadrak on Thursday to persuade Das not to contest the by-election as an independent candidate and pacify his supporters.