ROURKELA: With the three-tier Panchayat elections round the corner, the ruling BJD is making all-out efforts to enter the CPM bastion of Bonai Assembly constituency in Sundargarh district amid high political stakes in mineral-rich Koida block.
Koida block, with two Zilla Parishad (ZP) seats, holds greater significance for the major political parties in view of political financing and trade union activities. The BJD in 2012 Sundargarh ZP election had won Koida-B ZP seat with a margin of just 21 votes against the CPM nominee. Koida-A ZP seat was won by CPM’s Sushila Munda with a total of 12,000 votes.
The BJD candidate had trailed by more than 5,000 votes. Incidentally, the BJD had won six out of the eight ZP seats in Bonai Assembly constituency. The BJD’s position in Koida would determine its chances of winning the Bonai Assembly seat the next time.
In 2014 poll, CPM legislator of Bonai Laxman Munda had defeated BJD nominee Dayanidhi Kishan with a slender margin of 1,818 votes. Former Bonai MLA Bhimsen Choudhury had trailed behind Kishan by only 126 votes. Sources said the CPM, through its labour arm CITU, controls mineral transporting loading railway sidings of Koida block. But the ruling BJD is aggressively trying to enter the Bimlagarh railway siding and the BJP, led by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, has to some extent succeeded in ensuring presence of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh in Bimlargarh despite strong resistance from CITU.
The BJD’s preparations have started a long ago. It has roped in Choudhury. On December 4, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik addressed an impressive public meeting at Bimlagarh and from there, simultaneously laid foundations for 24 projects worth about `144.18 crore for Bonai Assembly constituency.
Koida-A ZP member of CPM, Sushila Munda said despite all manoeuvring of BJD, the working class and Koida villagers are with the CPM. Rourkela unit BJD president AC Mohanty said the BJD would win all eight ZP seats of Bonai Assembly constituency taking advantage of Naveen’s image.