PARADIP: Like father, like son. This proverb seems to come true for Paradip MLA Sambit Routray, son of former minister Damodar Rout. Sambit seems to have inherited his father’s long-standing rivalry with BJD’s Jagatsinghpur observer Debasish Samantaray as rift between the Paradip MLA and his father’s bete noire over selection of candidates for the posts of the party’s block president has come out in the open.
Being the party’s district observer, sources said, Debasish had recommended the name of Sanjay Swain for Kujang block president post. However, Sambit is opposed to Swain’s candidature and has lobbied against the decision before BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The date of filing nomination for the post of block president was January 29. Though BJD has finalised Swain as its candidate, Sambit is unwilling to accept Debasish’s choice and has intensified a campaign to give the party ticket to his supporter Bharat Bhusan Nayak, who is sarpanch of Kujang panchayat.
BJD’s assistant returning officer Tapan Kumar Samantray said the party has selected Swain who served as sarpanch of Bhutmundai panchayat three times and is an experienced political leader. As many as 21 members of the BJD block committee have given their consent in favour of Swain’s candidature, he said.
“Earlier, I had requested Sambit’s presence during selection of candidate for Kujang block president post. However, the MLA ignored my request. After the nomination process was completed, Sambit came up with Nayak’s name for the post. A first-time sarpanch, Nayak is inexperienced and local BJD leaders are not in favour of his candidature,” said Tapan.
Besides, since nomination filing has been completed, there is no question of withdrawal of Swain’s candidature. Tapan threatened that he would resign from BJD if the party changes its decision in favour of Nayak. Sources said Dama has also thrown his weight behind Sambit and is mobilising his son’s supporters to raise voice in favour of Nayak for the block president post.
The BJD unit has been divided into two groups in Kujang due to the rift between Debasish and Sambit over Swain’s candidature. Claiming that he has no differences with Debasish, Sambit said since Nayak is residing at the block headquarters, he will be able to work more efficiently and is the perfect candidate for the post. “I have discussed this matter with party observer Debasish who has given assurance to select Nayak as BJD’s president of Kujang block,” he added.