BHUBANESWAR: Even as the BJP seems unanimous on the nomination of Suryabanshi Suraj, son of former MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, for the by-election to Dhamnagar Assembly constituency, the party is in a fix as a section of the Bhadrak district are opposed to his candidature.
The BJP is facing twin challenges, one from within the party and the other from its rival Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The regional outfit is making an aggressive move to win the bypoll, by making an attempt to get Suraj in their fold.
Getting the wind that a group of BJD MLAs led by party’s organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das are in touch with Suryabanshi, a team of BJP leaders including State BJP president Samir Mahanty, general secretary in charge of Bhadrak district Golak Mohapatra, national general secretary in-charge of Odisha D Purendeswari and former minister Manmohan Samal are camping in the district headquarters and meeting leaders of the district to build a consensus on the candidature of Suraj.
As Dhamnagar is a reserve constituency for scheduled castes, the BJP leadership is also in search of another potential candidate in case Suraj changes his mind and accepts the BJD offer, sources familiar with the development said.
Sources in the BJP admitted that there is no better candidate than Suraj in the constituency. As Bishnu Sethi was not keeping well for most of the time, his son was looking after the the constituency and he had become a familiar face with the constituents. Besides, Suraj has the advantage over other candidates as he will garner the sympathy of voters.
Giving a broad hint that the BJP will nominate Suraj for the bypoll, which was necessitated following the untimely death of his father, Mohapatra on Wednesday said the name of the party candidate will be announced within a day or two. A top leader of the party told this paper that it will take time to name a candidate as things are not going in the right direction.
On the other hand, it is a problem of plenty for the BJD. There are many aspirants for BJD ticket. While Rajendra Das, who lost the 2019 election to Sethi by a slender margin, is stated to be the favourite of the party.A section of the district BJD led by Chandbali MLA Byomakesh Ray has propped up the name of a medical practioner Dr Sanjay Das, a resident of Tihidi block, for the Assembly seat.