2019 LS polls: BJP vs BJD in Salepur-Tangi segment of Odisha
CUTTACK: A straight fight is on cards between BJP and BJD in Salepur-Tangi Assembly segment under Kendrapara Parliamentary constituency, that will go to polls in the fourth phase on April 29. While the BJD has renominated Prasant Behera, who had unsuccessfully contested for the seat in the 2014 elections, the BJP has fielded sitting legislator Prakash Behera, who had quit Congress earlier this year, from the constituency. The Congress has nominated Rabindra Kar as its candidate for the segment. In the 2014 polls, while the BJD had bagged all the Assembly constituencies of Cuttack district, Congress had won the Salepur-Tangi Assembly seat. Prakash had defeated BJD’s Prasant Behera by a margin of 2,126 votes in the last elections.
In 2009, BJD’s Chandra Sarathi Behera had defeated Prakash by a margin of 1,277 votes. The constituency had been witnessing a direct contest between BJD and Congress. But, this time the scenario has changed with BJD and BJP poised for a direct battle in the segment. Though Prakash was defeated consecutively in three elections held between 2000 to 2009, the vote bank of the Congress holds him in good stead due to his impressive organizational capability.
Though most of his front line workers have already switched to BJP along with him, the extent of the impact of the party-hopping on voters loyal to the Congress will be known in the coming days. However, the Congress voters of the constituency will play a decisive role in the elections, feel poll observers. “I am with the people of my constituency,” said Prakash, adding owing to his strong Congress vote bank, he was able to give the BJD a run for its money when the grand old party was struggling in the State. Prakash said people in the constituency are aware of the corruption and misrule of the BJD Government and want a change. “People’s love and and the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ensure victory for BJP in the constituency,” he said.
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Prasant, on the other hand, said the voters have made up their minds to bring BJD to power again owing to the popularity Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and welfare measures of the State Government. “During campaigning, I have noticed people’s overwhelming support for the BJD due to which I am confident of winning from the seat by a big margin,” he said.
Rabindra however said there would no impact of Prakash’s party-hopping on the vote bank of the Congress in the constituency. “The strong organization of Congress in the constituency had made Prakash Behera powerful and now the organization is not with him as he has left the party,” he said. Rabindra said he is engaged in reorganizing the Congress workers and voters of the constituency.