After inclusion in the BJP, Rout decided to contest from Balikuda-Erasama seat instead of Paradip which he thought as a safe bet as he won thrice from here.
On the other hand, Raghunandan Das’s return to BJD yesterday after tendering his resignation to the BJP has made the situation critical for this seat.
In 2014, Das had contested from Balikuda-Erasama seat as an Independent candidate and received 32135 votes. He had hoped to contest this seat once again with a BJP ticket but the BJP gave it on a platter to the newly inducted Damodar Rout. A red-faced Das sent in his resignation to the state BJP president Basant Kumar Panda.
He later met BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence and joined the BJD with hundreds of his supporters in the presence of district BJD unit president Bishnu Das and Balikuda-Erasama MLA Prasant Muduli.
Das’s inclusion in the BJD has made matters tough for the BJP in Balikuda- Erasama seat and it will be an uphill task for BJP leader Rout to win back voters.
Das was with the BJD before he resigned in 2009 after being miffed with the party for ignoring him and giving the party ticket to sitting MLA Prasant Muduli. Frustrated, he had joined the BJP and strengthened his stronghold in Balikuda and Erasama blocks. But once again, BJP too failed him and gave the ticket to Rout from this seat and he rejoined the BJD.