Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 4:
K Shyam Babu Subudhi is at it again. Undeterred by crushing defeat in two seats- Berhamour and Aska – in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, this homeopath from Berhampur town in southern Odisha has thrown his hat into the ring yet again: this time for the lone Rajya Sabha seat for which by-election will be held on June 19.
He has already purchased his nomination paper on June 2 and will submit it soon with the requisite fee of Rs 10,000.
Though Subudhi has been contesting elections since 1957, this is the first time he is entering the fray for the Upper House of the Parliament.
But surprisingly, he is ‘confident’ about winning this time – notwithstanding his unenviable record of losing his deposit in every election he has contested.
Asked about the reason for his optimism, the compulsive election candidate points to the internal wrangling within the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which he says would help him sail through.
“There are at least 25 aspirants, including cine star Anubhav Mohanty and former ministers Prafulla Ghadai, Prasanna Acharya and Ananga Uday Singhdeo, in the BJD for the lone seat. This wrangling within the ruling party is what has brightened my prospects in the election,” said Subudhi, who is in the state capital to meet BJP state unit president KV Singhdeo to seek the party’s support for his candidature.
“I came to know that BJP would not field any candidate this time. Since it has 10 MLAs in the Assembly, they can propose my name for the Rajya Sabha seat to ensure that Naveen Patnaik’s candidate cannot win the election without a contest,” said the homeopathy doctor.
Interestingly, Subudhi, in the same breath, says he would also seek the support of BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, besides the Congress. Asked why he thinks Naveen would support his candidature when he is all set to field his own candidate for the election, he says; “I am an Independent candidate and can seek everyone’s support. I will go to Naveen Nivas to meet the chief minister.”
The man who has fought Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik in the past, however, is not too sure if he would be allowed entry into the fortress called Naveen Nivas, the Chief Minister’s residence. “I don’t know if I would be allowed to climb the stairs of Naveen Nivas, which even his cabinet ministers dread to ascend. But I will certainly make an effort,” he says.
Just as he is undeterred by the fact that he has lost every election since 1957, he is not overly concerned about the prospect of having his nomination paper rejected in the absence of the required number of proposers. “I will meet every MLA to seek support and see how it goes,” he says.
The man who has always taken great pride in being an ‘independent’ candidate says he would join the BJP after the Rajya Sabha election. “I am inspired by the leadership of Narendra Modi,” he says.
Subudhi’s chances of winning the Rajya Sabha election is anybody’s guess. But one has to give it to this 79-year old for his indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude.