With election just a few days away, old enemies have turned friends here.
The leaders in question are Hema Gomango, BJD candidate for Laxmipur Assembly constituency and her old rival Jhina Hikaka, the ruling party’s candidate for Koraput Lok Sabha seat. While both campaigned against each other in the last General Election, Hikaka is now campaigning for Hema in Laxmipur. While Hikaka was a BJD candidate in the last election, Hema fought the poll battle with Congress ticket.
Though candidates of different political parties are yet to start campaign in the tribal areas, the joint campaign of Hema and Jhina has confused the tribals who saw them spewing venom at each other in the last poll. Jhina had defeated Hema by a small margin of 3500 votes.
While the tribals are happy over Jhina getting BJD ticket as he is a local face, Hema’s candidature has come as a surprise for many. Because not many are aware that Hema has quit Congress to join the ruling party.
Apparently, neither Jhina nor Hema has a hold on the constituency. Jhina remained absent from the constituency for a long time and stayed in Bhubaneswar after he was released from captivity by the Maoists.
Meanwhile, political observers feel the denial of ticket to Congress leader Taraprasad Bahinipati would cost the party dear as this would mean a smooth sail for Jhina.
Maoist Threat Sends Hema Back
Meanwhile, Hema, who had gone to Narayanpatna to campaign on Wednesday, was told to go back by security personnel due to Maoist threat. Sources said a large number of posters of Srikakulam-Koraput divisional committee of Maoists was found in different locations between Laxmipur and Narayanpatna road. This is the main road for the political leaders to enter the Maoist hotbed Narayanpatna and Bandhugam blocks.
In the posters, the Maoists threatened that they would take drastic action against the leaders who would not obey their diktat. Narayanpatna and Bandhugam come under Laxmipur Assembly segment.