With the ULB polls nearing, former political heavyweight of Rourkela Dilip Ray seems to have started making efforts to woo old supporters and electorate.
If sources are to be believed, Ray wants to use the municipality poll to return to State-level politics and contest from the crucial Rourkela constituency in the coming Assembly election.
Hundreds of people had turned up at the venue where Ray, national executive member of BJP and Jual Oram, national BJP vice-president, finalised the party’s candidates for municipal election on Friday. Similar was the scene at his office near RGH on Saturday. Rourkela Municipality holds special significance for Ray. He was the first chairman of the then NAC (CT) in 1985 and retained indirect control of the upgraded municipality till 2008. Observers said with downfall of deposed BJD minister and Rourkela MLA Sarada Prasad Nayak over internal issues in the party, Dilip hopes to regain control over Rourkela politics. But, a section of BJP workers are apprehensive if the popularity of Dilip would really benefit the party.
The BJD has 21 seats followed by seven and five seats of BJP and Congress respectively in the 33-member municipal council.
While Jual exuded confidence for a better show in the civic body polls, Congress MP of Sundargarh Hemanand Biswal admitted that his party may not fare well in Rourkela, but would do better in rest three municipalities in the district. Rourkela unit president of BJD AC Mohanty said his party would form the council again.