MALKANGIRI: The BJD has succeeded in pacifying incumbent Malkangiri MLA Manas Madkami who was miffed after being denied renomination with the dissident leader and his supporters hitting the campaign trail for the ruling party on Sunday.
Madkami had earlier blamed former minister and Seed Corporation Chairman Arabinda Dhali holding him responsible for Mukund Sodi getting the ticket instead of him. Denial of renomination of the MLA had divided the Bengali population which constitute a major vote base in the district with many shifting their loyalty to BJP.
Worried over the emerging scenario, BJD sent its emissary Pranab Prakash Das to Malkangiri on Saturday to take stock of the situation. On reaching Malkangiri, Das straightaway rushed to Madkami’s house along with Dhali and party candidate Sodi and held a meeting with the rebel leader and his supporters. After an hour-long late night meeting, he was able to convince the Madkami camp to campaign for ruling party candidate, BJD sources said.
Speaking to The Express, Madkami said, “I changed my mind after senior party leaders apologised for denying me ticket. I will now actively campaign for BJD.”
On the day, Madkami along with Dhali, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera and cine star Archita Sahu campaigned in the Bengali-community dominated areas of MV-62, MPV-82, MV-64 and Gompakonda villages and urged voters to vote for BJD.
Political observers opined that the truce between Madkami and Sodi will work in favour of the BJD. With only three days remaining for the polls, Sodi may emerge as the winner if the Bengali community votes for the regional outfit en masse. Around 85,000 Bengalis reside in the district. However, with hours left for campaigning, Madkami faces an uphill task to cover all areas of the Assembly constituency and convince his supporters to vote for BJD.