SAMBALPUR: The going doesn’t seem smooth for sitting MLA Rohit Pujari in the Rairakhol Assembly segment. Having failed to keep his vote bank intact, the deputy chief whip is facing a tough fight from Congress and BJP candidates in this election.
The Congress has given ticket to Asaf Ali Khan and BJP has fielded Debendra Mohapatra from the segment.
Although Rohit won the segment comfortably last time, he failed to maintain his vote bank due to poor public relations and lack of visible development in his constituency. He is now banking on the clean image of Naveen Patnaik and his welfare schemes to woo voters.
Asaf was defeated from the segment twice in a row in 2009 and 2014 but he has now developed good rapport with the constituents.
Apart from raising the failures of both Naveen led BJD Government and Modi led BJP Government, Asaf is using Congress’ poll promises like farm loan waiver and minimum support price of `2,600 per quintal of paddy to attract the voters.
Debendra, a political novice, has also succeeded in strengthening his base in the constituency. He is raising issues like failure of BJD Government along with highlighting various developmental works and welfare measures undertaken by the BJP Government at the Centre.
The constituency covers Rairakhol NAC, Rairakhol, Jujumura and Naktideul blocks and seven gram panchayats of Maneswar block including Deogaon, Dakara, Dhama, Huma, Bargaon, Sahaspur and Baduapali.
Rohit won from the seat in 2014 elections by defeating Asaf of Congress by a margin of 11,909 votes. While Rohit got 53,849 votes, Asaf managed to get 41,940 votes and Pratap Kumar Pradhan of BJP got 29,544 votes.
In 2009 polls, BJD stalwart Prasanna Acharya had defeated Asaf by a margin of 9,764 votes.