Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Dhamnagar Assembly constituency under the Bhadrak Lok Sabha segment is now represented by BJP leader Suryavanshi Suraj after the demise of his father and sitting MLA, Bishnu Sethi in 2022.

Past performances 

Dhamnagar, which perennially battles flood, was once represented by the current Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal, and Congress party's Hrudananda Mallick and Jagannath Rout.

The seat was under the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) from 2009 to 2019. 

In the 2022 by-election, the BJD had denied a ticket to former MLA Raju Das, who turned a rebel and contested as an independent. Raju Das is said to be a major factor behind the victory of BJP's Suryavanshi Suraj, who defeated BJD candidate Abanti Das by a margin of 9,881 votes. 

Ticket aspirants galore 

Now, Raju Das has joined the BJP. It remains to be seen, who among them will be fielded by the BJP. As per reports, the BJD also has a good support base in the constituency. BJD’s Muktikant Mandal, who was elected from the seat in 2014, is said to be a ticket hopeful this time.

However, the ruling party may find it difficult as it has several other aspirants like district coordinator of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, Dr Sanjay Das, and leader of Zilla Dalit Mahasangh, Rajendra Prasad Jena.

The seat was a fort of Congress prior to 2000. Thereafter, the Congress continued to lose its base and clout. The party fielded Bidyadhar

Jena in the 2019 election, but he polled only 7,303 votes. In the 2022 by-poll, the party only got 3533 votes.  Party leader Bidyadhar Jena is still aspiring for a ticket.

BJP leader Suryavanshi Suraj said, "We will go to the people with the development agenda in the coming polls. We will have to deal with issues and find solutions.” 

Raju Das hinted about his aspiration for a ticket and said, “All want me to fight the poll. People have not forgotten me." 

BJD’s Dr Sanjay Das, said, "I believe in service to people. I have been working hard. Infighting will make no difference for me. The BJD will be ahead of others.”  

Congress leader Bidyadhar Jena said, "I have been with the grassroots workers. Congress has momentum now. People are accepting Congress and it will do better.”

Chandra Sekhar Nayak, CPI(M) leader said, "We will not field any candidate this time. Congress is part of the INDIA bloc. We will support INDIA candidate.”  

Flood havoc

Flood is a major issue for the people of this coastal pocket.  Regular floods will throw a challenge for all three parties in the fray.
As per reports, 31 panchayats of Dhamnagar block and 14 panchayats under Tihidi block are affected by floods in the monsoon every year.

Locals alleged that floods happen because of a lack of proper fortification of the embankments of the Baitarani River. Locals have long been demanding an anicut across Baitarani, which has not been fulfilled yet. They say the anicut will also help in irrigation.      
In fact, there is public resentment over the perennial flood problem.

Nayana Malick, a woman voter said, "Leaders come with promises to end the flood problem. They say protection walls will be built, but nothing happens. They hardly care if we suffer or die during floods. We are living in fear of floods.”

  • Reported by:
  • Partha Sarathi nayak