BALANGIR: It’s a battle of newcomers in Loisingha Assembly constituency. In a triangular fight, BJP’s Mukesh Mahaling, BJD’s Pradeep Behera and Naba Kishore Naik from Congress will be testing poll waters from the seat for the first time.
In the last elections, Jogendra Behera of Titilagarh was fielded by BJD from Loisingha. Jogendra won the polls and was inducted in Cabinet as a Minister too. This time, the incumbent MLA was lobbying for ruling party ticket for his son. However, he failed in his bid and Pradeep, a local, managed to secure the ticket.
BJP candidate Mukesh, a scientist in Odisha State Pollution Control Board, resigned from his job to contest from the seat. Sources said prospects of Mukesh is bright since Loisingha is a BJP stronghold. Besides, Zilla Parishad president of Balangir and member of Agalpur Zone Bharati Mahanand is a dalit and it is believed that she will help consolidate votes of her community in favour of the saffron party. Mukesh also enjoys a considerable fan following among young voters.
On the other hand, BJD nominee Pradeep, an electrical engineer, is banking on the clean image of Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik to win the polls. He is also highlighting the achievements of the BJD Government to influence voters in his favour.
Naba is a former sarpanch in Loisingha. The Congress also has a strong support base in the area as Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Narasingh Mishra was an MLA from the constituency in the past. Narasingh has many followers and well-wishers here.
With the elections inching closer, the candidates have gone all out to woo voters in their favour. Senior leaders from all the three parties have also stepped in the campaigning arena to help their respective candidates.