BARGARH: The fate of BJD candidate for Bargarh Parliamentary constituency Prasanna Acharya is likely to be decided by the party’s high-profile MLA nominees. A sitting Rajya Sabha MP, Prasanna is contesting from the Parliamentary constituency for the first time. Despite being an influential leader of western Odisha, he is not popular among the residents of Bargarh Lok Sabha segment, particularly its five Assembly segments.
The common refrain is that although Prasanna has held several important posts during his political career, he has done nothing for the development of the district. Despite this, the BJD stalwart is in an advantageous position as several high profile candidates are in fray for the Assembly segments under the Parliamentary constituency. Prasanna is likely to take substantial lead in Bijepur as Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik is contesting from the Assembly segment. Besides, Minister of Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Snehangini Chhuria and Minister of Energy and Labour and Employees’ State Insurance Susanta Singh are contesting from Attabira and Bhatli Assembly segments respectively as BJD nominees.
Chairman of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) Kishore Kumar Mohanty and influential sitting Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das are in fray from Brajrajnagar and Jharsuguda Assembly seats respectively as BJD nominees. Prasanna became the Finance Minister of Odisha after winning the Rairakhol Ass e m bly s e at i n Sambalpur district in 2009. Prior to this, he represented the prestigious Sambalpur Parliamentary constituency thrice in a row in 1998, 1999 and 2004. Earlier, he was MLA from Bargarh Assembly segment in 1990 and 1995.
He had also served as a Minister during the Biju Patnaik-led Janata Dal Government. Prasanna’s weak base in the district can be gauged from the fact that he was defeated by Subal Sahu of Congress by a margin of 458 votes in Bijepur Assembly segment in the 2014 polls. He is facing a tough fight from BJP candidate Suresh Pujari, who is the party’s National Secretary, in the Parliamentary constituency in the 2019 polls.