ROURKELA: Recent developments in the poll scene have made the electoral battle in Assembly constituencies of Rourkela and RN Pali even more interesting.
While Rourkela is witnessing a two-corner contest, it is a triangular fight in RN Pali.
With the constituency going to polls in second phase on April 18, campaigning has gained pace in Rourkela Assembly constituency which is witnessing a direct fight between former BJD Minister and Rourkela Development Authority Chairman Sarada Prasad Nayak and BJP’s Nihar Ray. Former president of Rourkela District Congress Committee Biren Senapati is the third player in the fray but political observers feel he needs a miracle as Congress is a spent force.
Sarada had lost to BJP’s Dilip Ray with a margin of 10,800 votes in 2014. But using his organisation and leadership capabilities, the former Minister has consolidated his position. Dilip having quit BJP four months back and asking his followers to defeat BJP for non-performance, Sarada has a head-start already.
Nihar, former chairman of erstwhile Rourkela
Municipality, was previously a protégé of Dilip but ditched him and bagged BJP nomination from Rourkela constituency.
Observers feel the writing is on the wall that Dilip’s supporters would favour Sarada. Moreover, a section of old BJP leaders and workers has decided not to work of Nihar.
BJP’s RN Pali nominee and local unit BJP president Jagabandhu Behera, also a former protégé of Dilip, faces similar threat. RN Pali segment is witnessing a three-pronged contest involving former BJD Minister and sitting MLA Subrat Tarai, Jagabandhu and disgruntled BJD leader Prashant Sethi who later bagged Congress ticket. Prashant, a grassroots leader, was hoping for BJD ticket and opposing repetition of Subrat’s candidature.
Denied ticket, Prashant joined Congress to dent Subrata support base. However, Subrat’s prospects have improved with support of Dilip.
Nonetheless, the RN Pali constituency is witnessing a tight contest with none of the main players positioned comfortably. Although he gave a jerk to the BJD, Prashant’s road ahead is not free from bumpy rides as he too faces opposition from disgruntled Congress faction.