BARGARH : Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik contesting the elections from Bijepur has completely changed the political equations in Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency and the Assembly segments under it.
Padampur is no longer a safe seat for the BJP and sitting MLA Pradip Purohit seems to have got a tough task in hand for retaining the constituency. Naveen’s candidature from Bijepur is likely to have an impact on Padampur Assembly segment due to the constituencies’ proximity.
Besides, the resignation of BJP leader Subas Chauhan, who had lost the Bargarh Lok Sabha seat by a narrow margin in 2014, is bound to muddy waters for Purohit. Subas, a native of Padampur, has a firm grip on the segment and his joining BJD has given the ruling party an edge over BJP. Moreover, a Zilla Parishad member Sanjukta Majhi also left the saffron party and joined BJD on March 29. A substantial section of BJP workers have also moved away with Subas after he was declined the party ticket from the constituency this time.
The Padampur Assembly segment covers Padampur NAC, Padampur, Paikmal and Jharbandh blocks in the district. Political observers believe Pradip is likely to face a tough fight from BJD candidate Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, a former minister and four time MLA from the seat and Congress’ Satyabhusana Sahu, who has also won the segment thrice.
In the 2014 elections, Pradip had won the seat after defeating Bijay by a margin of 4,513 votes. In the 2009 polls, Bariha had defeated Congress’ Satyabhusana by a margin of 18,066 votes and became a minister in the BJD Government. Pradip had come third.Pradip, though, is popular for clean image and is connected with the grassroots. However, the present circumstances are not conducive for him.
Bijay, the president of Bargarh district BJD, does not possess these attributes but the prevailing political situation is in his favour. Satyabhusana, the president of Bargarh District Congress Committee, also has a strong base and capable of giving a tough fight to his opponents.