BJD Biggies Set to Face Tough Fight Today

With only a few hours left for the second phase polls on Thursday, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) camp is apprehensive as a late surge in Modi wave may dent its traditional vote bank in coastal Odisha.

Published: 17th April 2014 10:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2014 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

With only a few hours left for the second phase polls on Thursday, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) camp is apprehensive as a late surge in Modi wave may dent its traditional vote bank in coastal Odisha.

Several top BJD leaders maintained that their tally in the second phase may drop by a half a dozen Assembly seats compared to the 2009 elections, when it had won 65 seats out of the 77 constituencies, which will go to polls.

Even as poll calculations of the BJD have gone awry, all eyes are on Balasore Lok Sabha seat from where Union Minister of State for Fertilisers Srikant Jena is seeking re-election. Modi wave, coupled with organisational disarray in the Congress camp, has landed Jena on a sticky wicket.

Several top BJD ministers in the fray are facing a tough time in their constituencies due to a mix of several factors, including anti-incumbency trend among the voters.

While Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout is pitted against Bapi Serkhel of Congress from Paradip seat, Minister of State for Energy Arun Sahu is up against a resurgent Opposition in Nayagarh Assembly seat.

Other ministers in the fray include Maheswar Mohanty from Puri, Pratap Keshari Deb from Aul, Debi Prasad Mishra from Baramba, Badri Narayan Patra from Ghasipura, Rajanikant Singh from Angul and Bijoyshree Routray from Basudevpur.

Several Assembly constituencies, including Bramhagiri in Puri district and Mahakalpada in Kendrapara district, will witness a make or mar contest on Thursday. While senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra is pitted against Sanjay Dasburma of the BJD in Bramhagiri, veteran BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra is locked in an interesting contest against Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak of the BJD and Balaram Parida of the Congress at Mahakalpada.

Other prominent figures in the fray include Soumya Ranjan Patnaik of Ama Odisha Party (AOP) from Khandapara Assembly seat, former ministers Pradip Maharathi and Amar Satpathy from the BJD in Pipili and Barchana seats. Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan is seeking re-election from Satyabadi seat.

The voters would also decide the fate of four Ollywood stars __ Bijay Mohanty and Aparajita Mohanty, Congress candidates from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack Lok Sabha seats, Akash Das Nayak and Tatwa Prakash Satpathy alias Papu Pom Pom of the BJD from Korei and Champua Assembly seats respectively.

Prominent BJD MPs seeking renomination include former Union minister Arjun Charan Sethi from Bhadrak, Pinaki Mishra from Puri, Baijayant Panda from Kendrapara, Bhartruhari Mahtab from Cuttack, Tathagat Satpathy from Dhenkanal and Prasanna Patsani from Bhubaneswar.

Of the 11 Lok Sabha constituencies going to polls on Thursday, the BJD had won nine seats in 2009 polls.

While the Balasore seat had gone to Congress, the CPI, an ally of the BJD, had won the Jagatsinghpur seat.

Out of the 77 Assembly seats going to polls on Thursday, the BJD had won 65 seats while its ally NCP had won four seats during last elections.

The Congress had won from four Assembly seats while Independents had won four seats. All the four NCP MLAs and two Independents had joined the BJD later.

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