BERHAMPUR: With campaigning for the first phase of General Elections in the State coming to an end on Tuesday, the Berhampur Parliamentary constituency and its seven Assembly segments are set to witness pitched battles among candidates of BJD, BJP and Congress.
Though eight contenders are in fray for the Berhampur Lok Sabha seat, the main fight is between Chandra Sekhar Sahu of BJD, Bhrugu Baxipatra of BJP and V Chandrasekhar Naidu of Congress.
While Sahu is confident of winning the seat due to the clean image and charisma of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Baxipatra has pinned his hopes on the achievements of Modi Government at the Centre. Naidu is banking on the traditional Congress vote bank in the constituency and the anti-incumbency factor against BJD.
Unlike the Lok Sabha seat, some Assembly segments are poised for multi-cornered contests. The Digapahandi Assembly seat is all set to witness an interesting contest marked by glamour and glitz with BJP’s candidate and Odia cine star Pinky Pradhan pitted against BJD stalwart and Minister Surya Narayan Patro and Prafulla Panda of Congress.
While the battle is centred between Pradeep Panigrahy of BJD, Bibhuti Jena of BJP and S Dharmaraj Reddy of Congress for Gopalpur Assembly segment, the fight for Chhatrapur is among Subash Behera of BJD, Pradeep Kumar Sethy of CPI-Congress alliance and Prasant Kumar Kar of BJP.
The fight for Berhampur Assembly segment is among Bikram Panda of BJD, Kanhu Charan Pati of BJP and Lingaraj Choudhury of Congress. Though there are seven contenders for Chikiti, the segment is headed for a straight fight between BJD minister and sitting MLA Usha Devi and Manoranjan Dyansamantara of BJP. Of the rest two Assembly seats, while Paralakhemundi will witness a triangular fight between Kalyani Devi of BJD, sitting Congress MLA K Surya Rao and K Narayana Rao, the battle for Mohana will be among Purnabasi Nayak of BJD, Prasant Malik of BJP and Dasarathi Gamang of Congress.
However except Chikiti and Gopalpur segments, the contenders of all three major political parties are facing rebel candidates, who are likely to cause troubles. In Berhampur, BJP’s Kanhu Charan Pati is facing challenge from Siba Sankar Das, who has filed his nomination as an Independent candidate. Similarly Pinki Pradhan is facing her own party leader Uttam Panigrahy at Digapahandi. Surya Rao of Congress too is facing dissidence with his own party leader Tirupati Panigrahy pitted against him as an Independent candidate.