PARADIP: The one factor that unites former Minister and BJP candidate for Balikuda Erasama Assembly segment Damodar Rout and his son Sambit Routray, BJD nominee for Paradip seat is their desperation to overcome all odds and emerge winners.
Rout, who was expelled from BJD for anti-party activities, has won the Paradip Assembly seat twice in 2009 and 2014. After joining BJP earlier this year, he convinced the party’s senior leaders to let him contest from Balikuda-Erasama. The sitting Paradip legislator has represented the constituency five times from 1997 to 2009 . He was expecting the support of former BJP leader Raghunandan Das and ex-Congress heavyweight Sarada Jena. But to his dismay, both the leaders joined the BJD and now Das is pitted against Rout and is trying hard to break the latter’s winning streak.
Rout has been facing issues from the seat as BJP does not have a stronghold in the area and to make matters worse for the party, several of its leaders including Das have switched sides. Besides, those who were denied ticket by the party to contest from the seat are up in arms against Rout.
Sambit too is struggling hard in his attempt to win from Paradip Assembly segment. In fact, Rout junior’s struggles started the day he was nominated by Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik from the seat. To make matters worse, locals feel Sambit would not be an ideal representative as he does not even know the names of villages in the constituency
With the date of polling drawing nearer, Sambit is trying to rein in rebels and pacify dissidents. Even as trade union leader Santosh Patnaik, who was hoping for a ticket to contest from the seat has now decided to support Sambit, there are several others who are yet to accept him owing to his father’s anti-BJD rants.