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BJP fields former Union minister Dilip Ray from Rourkela against BJD leader Sarada Nayak

Ray, a three-time MLA and two-time Rajya Sabha member, was one of the founding members of the Biju Janata Dal

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 17.04.24, 12:25 PM
Representational image

Representational image Sourced by the Telegraph

The BJP on Tuesday fielded former Union minister Dilip Ray and noted hotelier from the steel city Rourkela.

The party on Tuesday announced the names of 21 candidates, including Ray. He will take on Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s candidate and minister Sarada Nayak in Rourkela.


His name for the Rourkela seat was doing the rounds after Delhi High Court stayed his conviction in the coal scam case and allowed him to contest the ensuing election. He was sentenced to three years in jail in 2020 for his role in irregularities in the allocation of an abandoned coal mining area in Giridih district of Jharkhand to a private firm in 1999. Ray was the Union minister of state for coal in the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government.

However, his conviction was stayed by the Delhi High Court on April 8, giving him the opportunity to contest the election.

Ray, a three-time MLA and two-time Rajya Sabha member, was one of the founding members of the Biju Janata Dal.

Later he fell out with chief minister Naveen Patnaik and joined the BJP. However, he has not been much active in politics since 2018.

Ray, 71, told reporters: “The steel city lacks a number of basic amenities. The election has not been held for the last 12 years in the Rourkela Municipal Corporation. My job is to ensure there is an election in the RMC. Once the election is held, the developmental work will take place.”

Exuding confidence about winning the election, Ray said: “I clearly see a Modi Lahar (wave) here and BJP will win. The BJP will form the government and people of Odisha will benefit from the double engine government.”

Ray, who hails from Rourkela city in Sundergarh district, enjoys considerable influence in the district.

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