Pradeep Singh

With the by-election to Dhamnagar Assembly constituency in Bhadrak district all set to be conducted on November 3, political parties in Odisha have started aligning all their stars in the firmament to win the seat which will also be a moral boost for them ahead of the 2024 general elections.

All the three major political parties- BJP, BJD and Congess have chalked out their strategies for the bypoll and leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. However, the ruling BJD and the Congress seem to be facing the problem of plenty.

Several aspirants from the BJD are willing to contest due to which the party is facing an uphill task to select candidates for the ensuing Dhamnagar bypoll. And, it is believed that this may prevent the ruling party from turning the electoral wave in its direction.

Apart from two former MLAs of BJD, Rajendra Das and Muktikanta Mondal, Dr Sanjay Das and former chairman of Dhamnagar block Ashok Nayak are confident of getting the party ticket for the bypoll.

While Sanjay Das is a new face, Rajendra Das was MLA from the Assembly constituency in 2009 and had unsuccessfully contested from the seat in 2019. Similarly, Muktikanta Mondal was the MLA of the constituency in 2014, and his wife is the current MP from Bhadrak Parliamentary constituency.

"I am with the pople of Dhamnagar and they want me to fight for them. I am confident that the party will repose faith in me," said Sanjay Das.

Muktikanta Mondal claimed that even though there was no BJD MLA in Dhamnagar, all the developmental works were carried out under the supervision of the Bhadrak MP. "I am confident of getting party ticket but the final decision rests with the Chief Minister," he said.

Similarly, while Congress Dhamnagar candidate in 2019, Bidyadhar Jena is hopeful of getting the party ticket, senior party leader Ananta Sethy and his daughter Madhumita Sethy are also said to be in the race for ticket. Madhumita had unsuccessfully contested the Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat in 2019 general polls.

"I appreciate and thank people for keeping faith in me. The party will take decision on the candidate, but we will fight the bypoll with our full strength," said Ananta Sethy.

Suryabansi Suraj, son of BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi whose untimely demise necessitated the bypoll, is expected to be the BJP's Dhamnagar candidate. 

On selection of candidate for the by-election, senior BJP leader Manmohan Samal said, "The BJP will select its candidate in a natural process by taking into account suggestions of its leaders.

Dhamnagar Assembly Constituency Election - A Sneek Peak

2000 General Polls: Manas Mallick, Independent candidate

2004 General Polls: Manmohan Samal, BJP

2009 General Polls: Rajendra Das, BJD (after the seat was reserved for SC candidate)

2014 General Polls: Muktikanta Mondal, BJD

2019 General Polls: Bishnu Charan Sethi, BJP

Bishnu Sethi, who passed away last month at the age of 62 while undergoing treatment at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, had won the seat by defeating BJD's Rajendra Das by 4625 votes.  

While the voting for the bypoll will be conducted on November 3, November 6 has been fixed for the counting of votes and announcement of results. The specific gazette notification regarding the by-poll will be issued on October 7.