Bhubaneswar: The governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha has chalked out a special strategy to win Dhamnagar by-election in Bhadrak district.
The bypoll is necessitated due to the death of sitting MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi on September 19. Sethi had won Dhamnagar Assembly seat on a BJP ticket in 2019.
The BJD has fielded Tihidi Panchayat Samiti chairperson Abanti Das as its candidate for the bypoll. The BJP has picked Sethi’s son Suryabanshi Suraj Sthitaprajna while the Congress party has announced Baba Harekrushna Sethi as its candidate for the by-election.
Minister Pramila Mallick and BJD leaders Bishnubrata Routray, Jyoti Panigrahi and Parsuram Dhada have been given the responsibility to garner support for party’s candidate Abanti Das in Tihidi block. Similarly, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has assigned the task of securing votes for Das in Dhamnagar block to minister Priti Ranjan Ghadai, MP Manjulata Mandal and party leaders Ashok Bal, Prafulla Samal, Amar Satpathy and Sunanda Das, sources said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Sethi’s son to cash in on the sympathy factor. However, the saffron party is facing an uphill task to retain Dhamnagar Assembly seat in the by-election.
The BJD has won all five by-elections in Odisha since 2019. The party has retained Bijepur, Tirtol, Pipli and Brajarajnagar Assembly seats while it has wrested Balasore from BJP in the bypolls.
The saffron party had fielded deceased MLA Madan Mohan Datta’s son as its candidate for by-election in Balasore. However, it lost the seat to BJD.
It is learnt that BJD general secretary (organisation) Pranab Prakash Das is personally supervising party’s strategy for Dhamnagar bypoll.
“BJP MLA Bishnu Sethi had not done anything remarkable for the people of Dhamnagar. So, the sympathy factor is unlikely to ensure victory for his son in the bypoll,” said a political observer.
It is worth mentioning here that BJP’s Bishnu Sethi had defeated BJD candidate by a margin of 4,625 votes in the 2019 elections. Sethi himself had attributed lack of proper coordination among BJD leaders to his victory in the 2019 polls.
However, the BJD has done extremely well in this year’s three-tier panchayat and urban local body polls in Dhamnagar. The party has grabbed the chairperson posts for Tihidi and Dhamnagar panchayat samitis. This apart, BJD candidate has been elected as the chief of Dhamnagar NAC.
“The BJD is in a better position for the upcoming bypoll in Dhamnagar. The ruling party may wrest the Assembly seat from BJP,” added the political observer.