Rourkela: The Biramitrapur Assembly constituency will be in focus when the 2024 state elections take place. This is because of the various permutations and combinations that the major parties – the BJD, the BJP, and the Congress – are carrying out to make the right choice of candidates. Many feel that at the time of naming the candidates, political upheaval will be witnessed as far as this constituency is concerned. “Next year one may witness unthinkable changes in some of the major parties and don’t be surprised if that happens just before the nominations are announced,” said a person in the know of things here Tuesday. The person on condition of anonymity stated that the BJP this time may not nominate sitting MLA Shankar Oram from the Biramitrapur constituency. “Sundargarh MP Jual Oram and Shankar are not in the best of terms and this may affect the latter’s chances of getting a ticket,” the person stated. He added that Jual still wields considerable influence within the BJP and his word may be the nail in the coffin for Shankar.
Recently while talking to the media, Shankar had expressed his desire to contest the Assembly elections again. “I am ready for anything the party asks me to do,” Shankar stated. And this has irked Jual a lot. Sources informed that Jual is using all he can to end Shankar’s ever-growing popularity. Jual has brought in his favourite disciple Purnima Kerketta into the organisational fold as general secretary. He has asked her to concentrate on the Biramitrapur constituency. Even though Purnima is still not a very popular choice, Jual’s intention is clear. He wants Purnima to get the nomination for the Biramitrapur seat. If that happens, it will certainly be a huge setback for Shankar who is the sitting MLA.
Sources also said that royal family member Lalu Singh Deo is very interested in contesting from the seat on a BJP ticket. He is popular, has money and power, and has the backing of local industry owners. Meanwhile, a number of persons pointed out that Shankar is keeping all his options open. “If he doesn’t get a ticket, Shankar will join the BJD. The ruling party will gladly welcome him keeping in mind the popularity he enjoys,” said a BJD worker here. In the last Assembly elections, Shankar got 60,937 votes, BJD’s Makhlu Ekka received 44,586 and the Congress got 44,212. “The BJD will definitely nominate someone new instead of Makhlu. He is not in the good books of many top leaders,” the source added.