Jagatsingpur, News Today 26 September : Exposing the simmering discontent in the district unit of BJP, members of Mahila Morcha staged dharna at different panchayats of Tirtol Assembly constituency on Friday protesting the neglect of local leader Ramakant Bhoi by the party high command.
The workers of BJP’s women wing threatened to boycott the upcoming Tirtol bypoll if the party did not give ticket to Bhoi. Mahila Morcha leader of Tirtol block Rojalini Mallick said after the inclusion of Congress leader Rajkishore Behera in BJP, Bhoi is being ignored by the party.
“Bhoi, the BJP candidate in 2009 and 2014 elections, is responsible for strengthening the party’s base at the grassroots level in Tirtol. If he is not given the party ticket, we will be forced to boycott the by-election,” she said.
Members of Mahila Morcha, mostly supporters of Bhoi, organised protest meetings at Gopalpur (S), Dainlo and Kanimul panchayats. Expressing dissatisfaction over some senior BJP leaders, another Mahila Morcha leader Anjubala Sethy said Bhoi’s supporters are being subjected to humiliation by the party as some leaders want to give the ticket to Behera.
Sources said party workers of several panchayats of Biridi, Raghunathpur and Tirtol blocks are unhappy with the joining of Behera in BJP. It is believed that senior leaders lured Behera into BJP by promising him the party ticket from Tirtol. Behera had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 and 2014 elections from Tirtol on a Congress ticket.
On the day, BJP workers organised a protest meeting in Uttarsasan panchayat of Biridi block and criticised senior State BJP leaders for ignoring Bhoi. Kartik Parida, a local BJP leader, said Bhoi has worked tirelessly, even during the recent floods, to reach out to voters and enjoys a good rapport with locals. “If he is not given the party ticket, we have decided to quit BJP,” he threatened.
In 2014 polls, Bhoi had secured 14,516 votes. He improved his performance in 2019 Assembly elections by securing 53,581 votes.
Though BJP is yet to announce its candidate for Tirtol by-election, political observers said if Bhoi is not made the candidate, the party’s poll prospects will take a severe beating.