Rebellion in BJP and Congress puts BJD in pole position in Rourkela

Political observers said both these developments will certainly benefit the ruling party which is expecting to face a tough fight in the Assembly seat.
Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only
Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only(File Photos | PTI)

ROURKELA: Amid the fast changing electoral dynamics in Rourkela Assembly constituency, the ruling BJD seems to be in prime position ahead of the elections.

After being denied ticket, disgruntled BJP leader Nihar Ray is all set to contest as a rebel against his former mentor and the saffron party’s candidate from Rourkela Dilip Ray. Similarly, general secretary of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) and ticket aspirant Biren Senapati, who resigned from the grand old party a few days back, will join the BJD along with his supporters.

Political observers said both these developments will certainly benefit the ruling party which is expecting to face a tough fight in the Assembly seat.

Former union minister Dilip recently returned to the BJP as its Rourkela candidate after a five-year hiatus from active politics. Sources said his return has created huge enthusiasm among his followers and simultaneously put the BJP in a position of strength against the strong BJD candidate Sarada Prasad Nayak. However, it has angered Nihar, who in 2019 had lost to Sarada by 10,460 votes.

Revolting against Dilip, he had asserted claim on BJP nomination from the prestigious Rourkela seat. Efforts of Dilip and BJP’s Sundargarh Lok Sabha candidate Jual Oram to persuade Nihar also failed to cut ice. Nihar’s supporters claimed he would file nomination as an Independent candidate on May 2. Contacted, Nihar neither confirmed nor denied the claim. He said everything would become clear on May 3.

Poll pundits feel the possibility of Nihar contesting as a BJP rebel is music to the BJD’s ears, especially when Dilip remains a formidable opponent.

Similarly, Biren along with 12 functionaries of Rourkela district Congress committee (RDCC) and NSUI are in Bhubaneswar to join the BJD after quitting the grand old party on Monday.

Kailash Chandra Sahoo, who resigned from the post of the national joint coordinator for the OBC wing of All India Congress Committee (AICC), confirmed that they are set to join BJD under the leadership of Biren. He blamed the OPCC and AICC for finalising Congress candidate BN Patnaik without the knowledge or consent of local leaders.

BJD insiders said the latest developments will put BJD in the driving seat and help it win in Rourkela.

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