Former Union Minister and ex-MP Chandra Sekhar Sahu is back to the battlefront but has changed camp. He had last won Berhampur Parliamentary constituency as Congress candidate in 2004 and lost the two subsequent polls in 2009 and 2014. Joining BJD last year, he has been preferred by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over sitting MP Siddhanta Mahapatra.
Sisir Panigrahy catches up with Sahu as he makes his bid to regain the prestigious seat that had
elected former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1996.
Q. How are you approaching voters as a BJD candidate when you had become synonymous with Congress and battled the ruling party for such long time?
A. In my usual way, assuring development of the constituency which has always been my main plank. I am born and brought up here and have been in public life since my college days. In my student days, I fought for rights and benefits of students and later made all possible efforts for development of Silk City as the chairman of the Berhampur Municipality.As Union Minister I made sincere efforts for the completion of Berhampur stadium, indoor game hall, new railway line from Gopalpur to Sambalpur etc.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is an image of development. He is determined to make Odisha No-1 State in the country and people have faith in him. Now being in BJD, I will continue to strive for all-round development of the city.
Q. Who is your main opponent? The BJP, Congress or the disgruntled BJD leaders ?
A. No opponent, the BJD will come back with a thumping majority. I am enjoying whole-hearted support of one and all in the BJD. It has been proved repeatedly during my campaigning.
Q. Do you think there is any anti-incumbency against the BJD this time as the party is seeking votes to form Government for the fifth consecutive time ?
A. Absolutely nothing as such, rather the overwhelming support of the public for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has increased. All the candidates will win with more margins in comparison to previous elections.
Q. Do you think the BJD can withstand a “wave in favour of BJP” as stated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders?
A. There is no wave. The people are well aware of the false assurances of BJP leaders. The BJP never stood for the people in Odisha during their need. The Central Government has neglected Odisha on all fronts. In such a situation how can you expect a wave?