Even though a week has not passed since the death of Dhamnagar MP Bishnu Charan Sethi, the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the Congress have been strategizing to win the by-votes that will be held for the vacant seat.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticized the state government’s strategy of silencing to launch the by-vote process for the vacant Dhamnagar constituency ahead of the leader’s eleventh-day death ritual, despite claiming s be prepared for the ballot.
Meanwhile, political analysts have estimated that the by-vote for Dhamnagar constituency will be a litmus test for all political parties ahead of the 2024 general election.
According to sources, three major political parties, BJP, BJD and Congress have made plans to win the by-elections.
It is learned that BJP National Chairman JP Nadda is due to visit Bishnu Sethi’s family in Dhamnagar during his two-day visit to Odisha. In addition, he will attend a joint lecture at Janata Maidan in Bhubaneswar at 11 a.m. on September 30.
Alongside Nadda, the conference will be attended by the party’s national general secretary, BL Santosh, and Odisha official, Sunil Bansal. The saffron party should choose a candidate there for the by-elections.
The Congress formed a three-member team including Jayadev Jena, Niranjan Patnaik and Prasad Harichandan. The trio will conduct a field visit to Dhamnagar and submit a report to the President of Congress on the candidate to be presented in the Dhamnagar partial polls.
In the meantime, BJD seems to have full confidence to win the partial majority vote.
According to sources, Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Bishnu Sethi defeated Biju Janata Dal candidate Rajendra Das by a margin of 4,625 votes in the 2019 general election. BJD won all Assembly seats in Bhadrak district except Dhamnagar in 2019. During the elections, clashes broke out between two BJD groups in Dhamnagar for which BJP seized the seat.
Political analyst Prasanna Mohanty said: “These could be the last partial polls before the 2024 general election. That’s why all political parties are trying their best to win. The result of the partial elections will show the real strength of the parties before the general elections.
Rajkishore Das, BJD MLA said, “BJD is ready to fight the battle and win it. The popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will eclipse other parties’ chances of winning elections there.
Congress leader Sura Routray said: “Jayadev Jena, Niranjan Patnaik and Prasad harichandan were tasked with choosing a candidate for the seat. Additionally, our President Sarat Patnaik called on MPs to campaign in the panchayats for Congress to win the partial vote.
BJP General Secretary Golak Mohapatra said: “By-elections will be held in six months. The state government should not be in a rush to hold elections at a time when Sethi’s death rituals are not yet complete. It’s really shameful.”
Notably, Sethi breathed his last on September 19 while undergoing treatment at Bhubaneswar AIIMS for a month.