Paradip: While the BJP has chosen Sampad Swain, a new face, to contest polls from the Paradip Assembly seat, the BJD and the Congress are yet to finalise their candidates from among many aspirants.
Swain, the BJYM Jagatsingpur district president, was chosen as he is in the good books of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and has been working for the party for the last four years.
After the sitting MLA Damodar Rout was suspended from the BJD, now names of Rout’s son Sambit Routray, Municipality Chairman Basanta Kumar Biswal, Cuttack-Barabati MLA Debasish Samantaray and prominent trade union leader Santosh Kumar Pattnaik are doing rounds as main aspirants of the BJD.
As Rout has remained as MLA of Paradip for the last 10 years, it seems that he has some pocket votes. So, the Bobby Das group thinks that Rout would be silent if Sambit is made a candidate. However, he wouldn’t help his son as he is a star campaigner of the BJP. Samantaray is now under pubic scanner as he misbehaved martyr Manoj Behera uncle’s insulation in the public. That matter was even teleact in a section of Pakistani media. Biswal, who is not Paradip municipality chairman, will continue to be in the post till April 2020.
Thus chances of trade union leader Santosh Pattnaik to become a BJD candidate are more as he is leading nine organisations like the EIORW Union, ECBE Union, ORCLC Society, Paradip Port Banik Sangh, JD Truck Owners’ Association, BBJD Dumper Owners’ Association, Paradip Port Land Losers’ Association, Purba Bharat Kaibartya Mahasabha, Jagannath Temple Committee and the Udaya Bata Dham. He has working for the party since 2000 under the guidance of BJD district president Bishnu Das. He is organising all party activities. He is credited to have collected 4,006 units of blood last year and 5,034 units of blood this year by orgainising the Jeevan Bindu Programme. Besides, his organisations have donated lakhs of rupees to the Chief Minster’s relief fund. He is also leading the Mahanadi Surakshya Abhijan.
“If BJD supremo chooses Patnaik for the Paradip seat, he will have an easy win because his whole career has gone through public service only and he is not involved in any business,” said a BJD worker on condition of anonymity.
In Congress, Bapi Sarkhel and Pramod Jena are in the ticket race. Jena had fought the 2009 election from the Assembly segment and got only 13,500 votes. In 2014, Bapi Sarkhel got a party ticket and got 46,000 votes. Sarkel is not a son of soil. He had come from Biramitrapur of Sundargarh district as a contractor. With Rout’s help and through trade unions, he had entered politics. In 2012, he had been arrested in the Duryadhan Swain murder case in Posco area. Later, he was arrested in Seaways’ manager killing case. He is also running many lucrative businesses in the area. If he gets a ticket, opponents will raise these allegations in public. He will also not get any support from Pramod Jena..
In view of all these, prospects of trade union leader Patnaik look brighter.