.........BARGARH: With dissension still prevalent among the ranks and files of BJD over the candidature of Ritarani Sahu, the widow of Subal Sahu, for the upcoming by-election in Bijepur, the BJD leadership is working overtime to buy peace and downplay the discord.
The BJD organised separate conventions of its workers of Bijepur, Barpali and Gaiselet blocks outside the Assembly segment to prevent the disgruntled elements to join hands, which can prove detrimental to the winning prospects of party candidate Ritarani.
While the convention of BJD workers from Gaiselet block was held in Padampur, workers of Bijepur were huddled in Sohela and those from Barpali were invited to Bargarh. The entire exercise was aimed at preventing any kind of disturbance even though sources said the ranks and files of the party were vocal in expressing their reservation on the candidature of Ritarani.
The workers expressed that they have been opposing Subal and his family for the last so many years. The BJD leadership should not expect them to shed their anti-Subal stand overnight and work in favour of Ritarani.
The conventions were attended by Rajya Sabha Member Prasanna Acharya, Ministers Sushanta Singh and Niranjan Pujari as well as Pranab Prakash Das. Though these leaders have managed to impress upon the disgruntled workers for the need to work unitedly, it remains to be seen whether their request will hold any importance. The workers have admitted that they have been left in a quandary and it will be hard for them to support Ritarani. If pestered, they would prefer to stay away from the election and remain silent.
Contacted, Acharya said the workers’ convention is being held separately as it will be difficult to control a large turnout at a single venue. “It is difficult to send across the message when the number of workers is more. Holding the conventions separately has nothing to do with revolt,” he said.
However, he admitted that there was some dissension among the party workers. “In a democracy, dissension is always there. But once the momentum for the by-poll picks up, the revolt and dissension will subside and workers will put up a strong fight,” Acharya added.