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Naveen Patnaik Banks On Women’s Group To Wrest Dhamnagar Seat From BJP

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) finally named Abanti Das to contest the Dhamnagar by-election to be held on November 3. Abanti Das, Mission Shakti specialist, is very actively involved with women Self Help Groups around Odisha. Political analysts say once again chief minister Naveen Patnaik has played his card well by focussing on women voters to win the prestigious seat left vacant with the untimely death of BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi. BJD is positive of Abanti Das because she is a fresh face and that fits into BJD’s strategy of giving breaks to newcomers. Also, BJD did not want to repeat the mistake of fielding a candidate which would trigger internal fights and give advantage to BJP like it did in 2019. This explains why BJD did not opt for its former two MLA’s Rajendra Kumar Das and Muktakanta Mandal as they are constantly at loggerheads. But, Patnaik’s move has not gone well with the former BJD MLA Rajendra Das. He has defied BJD supremo by filing nomination as an independent candidate. Abanti Das is the chairperson of Tihidi block at Bhadrakh who has vast experience in Mission Shakti. BJD is counting on her vote mobilisation networking abilities to win the by-poll election. BJD sources say “winning this time is expected, since BJD has won all the by-polls conducted since 2019”.