Mrunal Manmay Dash

Following disgruntled Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Rajendra Das’ filing of nomination papers as an independent candidate for the Dhamnagar by-election, the equation for the poll has been thrown wide open. Some experts say it can be anybody’s seat.

The Dhamnagar bypoll is all set to see a fight between Abanti Das (BJD), Suryabanshi Suraj (BJP), Baba Harekrushna Sethi (Congress) and Rajendra Das (Independent).

The atmosphere was tensed on Friday at Dhamnagar as this was the last day for filing nomination papers for the upcoming bypoll. Both BJD candidate, Abanti Das and dissident BJD candidate, Rajendra Das, filed their nomination papers on the same day.

While Rajendra Das’ was filing his nomination, the Dhamnagar Assembly Seat was getting ready for a four-pronged fight from BJD, BJP, Congress and Das himself as an independent candidate. Some experts said the fight will directly help both the BJP and Congress.

Senior journalist Sandip Mishra said, “Rajendra Das’ nomination filing will surely divide the votes of the BJD in the Constituency. And it will help BJP get some more votes in the process.”

A face-off also ensued at the sub-collector’s office where both the nominees reached in processions with their respective supporters. The police managed to tackle the situation and the nomination filing concluded without any hitches.

As two factions have already been created in Bhadrak unit of BJD, the event was not going to conclude without some sharp attacks on each other. Rajendra Das threw a salvo at the BJD leaders by terming them as conspirators.

Addressing the reporters, Das said, “Some conspirators tried to make me stay away from the services of Dhamnagar people, but they won’t succeed. By the grace of my elders and God, I will emerge victorious and serve the people.”

On the other hand, BJD MLA, Byomkesh Rai who accompanied and rallied behind party candidate Abanti Das to the sub-collector’s office said, “BJD is a huge party. A small defection won’t make any difference to us. We are going to secure a huge win here at Dhamnagar."

Being a party in power for the last 22 years, it is not uncommon for BJD to find itself in a difficult situation over selection of candidates during elections. But, be it Balasore by-election or Tirtol or Pipili for that matter, the conch party has been more or less successful to pacify the rebels and emerge victorious. But it has never seen a direct challenge by non of its rebels in the recent past.

It remains to be seen if the BJD can sail over this adversity or lose the fight like the last election in Dhamnagar where late Bishnu Sethi from BJP had won.

(Reported By Parthasarathi Nayak, Rashmiranjan Das & Hahrihar Chand, OTV)