Bhubaneswar: There is no doubt that the BJD’s Rajya Sabha member, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, has a fetish for Khandapada constituency. He has been lobbying hard for a party ticket to contest the Assembly election from there despite two consecutive defeats.
Optimistic about his chances of becoming a minister if he wins this time, he has spoken his mind to party chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Soumya had lost from Khandapada as a Congress candidate in 2009 to then BJD candidate Sidharth Sekhar Singh by a margin of about 17,000 votes. He lost again as a candidate of his own party, Ama Odisha, to his rival BJD candidate Anubhav Patnaik by a slender margin of about 600 votes in 2014.
Considering the political scenario in Khandapada, where there is intense bickering within the BJD, political analysts say it will not be easy for Soumya Ranjan to garner votes, as he is being bitterly opposed by his arch rivals, Anubhav and Gayadhar Parida (vice-chairman of Bhapur block), who too are aspiring for a party ticket from Khandapada.
However, with the changing political scenario, Soumya Ranjan will have to face a tough fight from Sidharth Singh, who has joined the BJP and is now the state executive member. While Singh is almost certain to get the party ticket for Khandapada, this will be another acid test for Soumya Ranjan.