Pradeep Pattanayak

Putting all speculations to rest, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Wednesday announced the name of its candidate for the by-election to the Dhamnagar seat. 

After several rounds of discussions and brainstorming sessions, the ruling dispensation announced Abanti Das as its candidate. 

Notably, though several names were cropping up as the possible candidate, the conch party eventually zeroed in on a new face like Das. 

Das is the present Tihidi block chairperson and is said to have vast experience in Mission Shakti. 

In her reactions immediately after the announcement  of her name, Das said she is grateful to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 
“I have full faith on Dhamnagar people that they will elect me,” Das added. 

BJD leader Rajendra Das, whose name also emerged as potential nominee to get the ticket, said, “I would like to thank our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for taking another step towards women empowerment and selecting Abanti Das, whom the party had made chairperson of Tihidi block.”

The BJD playing the surprise card is no surprise. Words were doing the rounds that the party would play a surprise card as it has been struggling with severe in-fighting in Dhamnagar. 

According to political analysts, the two groups belonging to former BJD MLAs Rajendra Kumar Das and Muktikanta Mandal have been at loggerheads. Due to this infighting, the party had to face debacle in the 2019 general elections. Das and Mandal were elected from Dhamnagar in 2009 and 2014 respectively. This is the reason why the party was searching for a new face. 

Notably, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Suryavanshi Suraj, son of late MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, the Congress on Wednesday announced the name of Baba Harekrushna Sethi as its candidate. 

It is worth mentioning, the by-poll to the Dhamnagar Assembly Constituency will be held on November 3. The demise of sitting MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi has necessitated the by-election.

(Reported by Harihar Chand from Bhubaneswar)