ROURKELA: Amid political twists and turns, the tide seems to be heavily against BJP candidate Nihar Ray in the politically crucial Rourkela Assembly constituency. Similar is the plight of the party’s nominee for RN Pali Assembly segment Jagabandhu Behera.
As if internal differences in BJP against the two were not enough, former heavyweight Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray, who quit the saffron party four months back and yet to have any political banner, on Thursday in no unclear terms hinted at ensuring their defeat. Dilip had quit BJP on November 30 last year expressing displeasure over the slow pace of second Brahmani bridge project and upgradation of Ispat General hospital (IGH).
Both projects were officially announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 1, 2105. Dilip addressing his followers said he would continue to fight for completion of these two projects and exhorted them to reject BJP which failed to keep its promises and betrayed the people of Rourkela. A close aide of the former Union Minister said during his next visit on April 8, he would reveal his cards. The legislator’s announcement seemed to have added to the apprehensions of Nihar and Jagabandhu who met him but to little avail. Incidentally, both are Dilip’s proteges.
BJP insiders say Nihar and Jagabandhu had shunned Dilip when he was not pulling well with the national and state leadership of BJP. They had come closer to Union Tribal Affairs Minister and Sundargarh MP Jual Oram during the period.
Once Dilip quit BJP, the two candidates on several occasions launched scathing attacks on him over the two projects and as reward got nominations from the party. The former Union Minister seems to have not forgotten the betrayal of his proteges. What’s more worrying for the duo is that an influential section of old BJP leaders too is fiercely against them.
Meanwhile, BJD candidates for Rourkela and RN Pali Assembly segments- Sarada Prasad Nayak and Subrat Tarai and party’s Sundargarh LS nominee Sunita Biswal meeting Dilip is a clear message. A trusted aide of the legislator said his followers would definitely work against Nihar and Jagabandhu and by their votes would go to BJD candidates.