Pradeep Pattanayak

With the deadline to withdraw nomination papers for the upcoming Dhamnagar bypoll ending today, all eyes are now set on rebel Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Rajendra Das, who has filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate

Today it is to be seen whether he will withdraw his nomination papers, obeying party discipline or will stick to his guns. 

According to sources close to the party, the party is leaving no stone unturned to bring him around. It has been discussed in the political circles that he has been given several tempting offers like to be made the chairman of the campaigning committee for the by-poll, to be made chairman of any corporation after the election, to be given party ticket in 2024 election besides several others. 

However, Rajendra Das is learnt to be still determined to contest the by-election as an independent candidate. He said there is no question of him being purchased. 

“I have full support of Dhamnagar people. They love me. Their blessings are with me. They have bought me literally. So, neither pressure nor money will work to persuade me to change my stand,” Das had earlier said.  

In response to Das’ stand, BJD MLA Byomakesh Ray said, “In the last Panchayat elections in Dhamnagar, we were ahead of BJP by a margin of 30,000 votes. So I don’t think there is any need for coaxing and convincing anyone. The BJD will contest on its own capacity.”   

The final list of the candidates in the fray for Dhamnagar by-poll will be out today evening. The political analysts are of the opinion that the decision of Das will have a huge impact on Dhamnagar by-election in general and on the BJD in particular.