Odisha: Justice done for Raghunandan Das after Naveen gave him a ministerial berth

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Report by Kahnu Nanda; Jagatsinghpur: After a two decades struggle finally Raghunandan Das newly elected Balikuda- Erasama assembly constituency MLA got justice, sworn in as minister of state on Wednesday. People of Balikuda- Erasama areas were jubilant after knowing chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced Das chosen for a ministerial berth on Tuesday, BJD supporters and residents described that finally justice done for Das all these happened due to Naveen’s wise full decision and careful considering political carrier of Das a grassroots leader from Balikuda.
The whole things happened in a dramatic way in early April 2019 that Das was a ticket seekers from BJP for Balikuda – Erasama assembly segment for the 2019 polls, all as sudden BJD expelled Damodar Rout joined BJP and claimed party ticket for the seat, after knowing BJP higher-ups agreeing for Rout’s claim, Das swapped over to BJD, surprisingly party chosen him for the candidate of Balikuda- Erasama assembly seat after studying his political carriers.
Das’s political up and down shows that he was a strong anti-congress leader of Balikuda area for the first time he had given BJD ticket in the 2000 assembly polls but he had defeated by a slender margin 1219 votes against Congress candidate Umesh Swain who was mentor and political Guru of Das.
While in 2004 assembly elections Das was aspirant for seeking BJD ticket for Balikuda seat but following seat sharing arrangements with BJP the seat had given to saffron party who placed its candidate Jyotish Das.
Interestingly Das did not seat idle who contested the elections as an independent candidate getting supports of local BJD leaders. Das scored plenty of BJD votes that resulted BJP candidate Jyotish Das’s defeat again congress candidate Umesh Swain retained the seat in the year 2004 elections. While political observers reveal that Das had fought election as independent candidate following instruction from late Pyari Mohan Mohapatra the then BJD strategist aiming to check BJP growth in state.
Being a rebel candidate in 2004 elections Das had expelled from the BJD few years and later his suspension order had revoked before 2009 polls. Again Das became ticket aspirant for the newly formed Balikuda- Erasama assembly segment along with another BJD aspirant Prasant Kumar Muduli.
Das had supported by BJD heavyweight Bishnu Das and Prasant Muduli had put his allegiance to then BJD’s strong hold Damodar Rout, both lobbied hard obtaining party ticket finally Prasanta Muduli obtained the ticket and Das had denied. This time Das obeyed party decision and helped candidature of Prasanta who won the seat by huge margin 31,485 votes against Congress candidate Umesh Swain. After election BJD had obliged Das giving him chairman of Oplefed few years.
In 2014 assembly polls Das repeated his ticket claim in BJD but again denied ticket, party put fidelity with sitting MLA Prasant Muduli, protesting the event Das contested the elections as an independent candidate and received 32,135 votes subsequently suspended from the party.
Losing any hope returning BJD Das joined BJP launched home works contesting 2019 elections. But Damodar Rout’s entry to saffron party forced him to returning his parent party BJD in early April 2019. Surprisingly BJD was searching a new face for the Balikuda – Erasama assembly seat replacing sitting MLA Prasant Muduli so BJD gladly accepted Das and awarded party ticket for 2019 elections.
Das performed excellent in 2019 elections scored 1,03,814 votes for the first time a candidate secured above one lakh votes in an assembly segment in Jagatsinghpur district and defeated his congress rival Lalatendu Mohapatra by huge margin of 54,583 votes which is highest from all four seats covering Jagatsinghpur district.
Das has been maintaining clean political image and undisputed newly elected MLA from Jagatsinghpur district. His father late Bipin Bihari Das was elected to assembly in the year 1961 to 1967, after all Das was a commerce graduate possessing law degree, earlier practicing legal profession in Jagatsinghpur courts. After departure of Damodar Rout Jagatsinghpur district had been unrepresented in state ministerial berth, so giving a ministerial berth to Das an wise decision by state chief minister Naveen Patnaik as reported from overall reactions from public. [Ends]

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