JAGATSINGHPUR: The BJP rebels, led by senior leader of the party Priyaranjan Das, have come out in protest against the candidature of former Minister and Paradip MLA Damodar Rout for Balikuda-Erasama Assembly segment.
The saffron party’s dissidents in the Assembly constituency have united and vowed not to extend their cooperation to Rout if he does not campaign against his son Sambit Routray contesting from Paradip Assembly seat on a BJD ticket. Rout, who joined BJP after being expelled from the ruling party, was nominated from Balikuda-Erasama Assembly seat and this has not gone down well with other ticket aspirants.
On Sunday, a meeting of the disgruntled BJP leaders was held at Balituta under Erasama block to protest Rout’s candidature. The leaders alleged that the former Minister has not been campaigning for BJP’s MLA candidate for Paradip Assembly seat Sampad Swain and instead extending support to his son, who is contesting the polls from the same segment. “Rout is not close to local BJP leaders who are instrumental in strengthening the party in Erasama and Balikuda areas,” the dissidents said.
Besides Das, district BJP unit vice president Nirilipta Jena, president of Balitutha Mandal unit Narayan Das, district BJP unit secretary Khetramohan Sahu, Yuva Morcha president Satyabrat Rana and other leaders of the saffron party were present in this meeting.
Meanwhile, Rout conducted a meeting with BJP’s workers in Balikuda where the participation of the party’s leaders was meagre. Political observers feel the upcoming polls would not be a cakewalk for the former Minister due to stiff opposition from rebels. Earlier, thousands of BJP workers, led by Raghunandan Das, had joined BJD to protest his candidature.
However, undeterred by the present state of affairs, Rout said, “I have a strong base in Balikuda and Erasama areas. The meeting at Balitutha would not affect the election campaign. I have received good response from the locals of this Assembly constituency,” he said.