ROURKELA: The election to the Urban Cooperative Bank Limited (UCBL), Rourkela, has turned a proxy fight between local BJP MLA Dilip Ray and former BJD minister Sarada Prasad Nayak. With votes of about 20,000 shareholders at stake, supporters of both leaders are leaving no stone unturned to ensure victory of their respective nominees.
Though Ray defeated Nayak in the Rourkela Assembly election in 2014, BJD nominated Nayak to Chairman post of Rourkela Development Authority (RDA) to revive the fortune of BJD in the seat in the same year. If the BJD panel wins, it would be a psychological advantage for the party workers ahead of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) election.
UCBL secretary AK Jena said votes would be cast on January 25 at 28 polling stations to be set up in Uditnagar Government High School, Uditnagar Government Girls’ High School and Rourkela Municipal College. He said 37 candidates are left in the fray for post of 14 directors while Sailendra Marothia won the director’s post uncontested. Panposh Sub-Collector is officiating as election officer.
Sources said the BJD panel now has 14 candidates after Marothia was elected unopposed. However, the BJP panel is a mixed bag of leaders having seven local BJP leaders including former UCBL president Aditya Mohapatra. A few candidates in the BJP panel have Congress connection while others have a good social standing. The BJP panel now has 14 contestants after Prabhu Patra withdrew from the fray.
Panposh organisational district president of BJP Dhiren Senapati said they are hopeful of winning majority of the posts of the directors to form a strong management. BJD leader Gagan Panda said honest and efficient persons should win to work for development of the bank.
The last election to the UCBL was held in 2008 and its tenure ended in 2012. Following it, Prashant Sethi, a close associate of Nayak, had taken charge as president. Sethi’s appointment was embroiled in litigations and finally, the Sundargarh district administration took over the UCBL management.