CUTTACK: With Congress city unit president Mohammed Moquim and BJP’s Samir Dey emerging as tough contenders for incumbent MLA Debashis Samantaray, the Barabati-Cuttack Assembly segment is all set to witness a fascinating fight even as Modi magic begins to play.
After filing their nominations on Tuesday, nominees of the three major political parties have intensified their campaign. While Samantaray won the seat twice in 2009 and 2014, BJP candidate Samir Dey was a Minister in the BJD-BJP coalition Government in the State between 2000 and 2009. Moquim has been spearheading Congress organisational activities as party’s city unit president for the last several years. In the 2014 polls, Samantaray defeated Moquim by a margin of 14,289 votes. While the sitting legislator had polled 57,663 votes, Moquim had managed to get 43,335 votes. BJP candidate Pradeep Swain had received 20,552 votes and was placed in third position.
However, this time, all the three contestants are facing stiff challenge from dissidents from their respective parties. Several leaders of BJD and BJP had been lobbying for ticket to contest from the seat but met with disappointment. This may cause problems as the dissidents are staying away from campaigning.
Similarly, Moquim may not get the support of Congress leader Suresh Mahapatra who had unsuccessfully contested the polls from erstwhile Cuttack Assembly segment in 2004 and Choudwar-Cuttack seat in 2014, feel political observers.
Undeterred by reports of dissidence within the ruling party, Samantaray said BJD would retain the seat. “The biggest asset of the party is our leader Naveen Patanik and his clean image. His popularity and Government’s development works would fetch votes for BJD,” he said. On the other hand, Moquim claimed both BJD and BJP have done nothing for the residents of the Millennium city. “Both the parties have failed to address civic issues and ensure basic needs of people,” he said, adding the voters of the segment would give Congress a chance to serve them.
Dey also sounded confident of his party’s prospects. “Good works and the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ensure victory for BJP in the elections,” he asserted.