BERHAMPUR: As the voters of Aska Parliamentary constituency and the Assembly segments under it get ready to vote a day later on April 18, they are disappointed by the lack of attention towards the region’s most pressing need of protection from flood.
Situated on the banks of Rushikulya and Badanadi rivers, Aska is a victim of frequent floods. Year after year, the floods in the rivers have wreaked havoc, seriously affecting the lives and livelihood of the people.
But, as campaigning came to an end on Tuesday evening, they stood a dejected lot as none of the candidates, including the much-hyped Pramila Bisoi, handpicked by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the Aska Lok Sabha seat, and her rivals Anita Subhadarshini of BJP and Ramakrushna Panda of CPI took up the issue. The problem of floods could have been a major poll plank, yet the candidates preferred to remain aloof.
The Lok Sabha candidates Bisoi, Subhadarshini and Panda stuck to their party agenda highlighting their achievements and their rivals’ failures. So was the case across the Assembly segments.
The Assembly seats will see triangular contest among the BJP, BJD and Congress. The BJD has fielded women candidates Latika Pradhan for Kabisurya Nagar, Nandini Devi for Sanakhemundi, Manjula Swain for Aska and Suryamani Baidya for Khallikote. This may work for the party, which in a landmark decision has earmarked 33 per cent seats for women in Parliamentary constituencies.
In Polsara, however, sitting MLA Srikant Sahu is facing a tough fight from Gokula Nanda Mallik of BJP and Hari Charan Swain of Congress. At Kabisurya Nagar, Latika is taking on Ranjan Polai of BJP and Bijay Kumar Sahu of Congress.
In Khallikote, the fight is between Suryamani Baidya of BJD, Bharati Behera of BJP and Bhokili Sethy of Congress. At Aska Assembly segment, former MLA Debaraj Mohanty of BJP is pitted against Manjula of BJD and Manoj Kumar Jena of Congress.
In Sorada, the fight is among Nalamani Bisoi of BJP, sitting BJD MLA Purna Chandra Swain and Sangram Mohanty of Congress.
In Sanakhemundi Assembly segment, sitting MLA Nandini Devi of BJD, Ramesh Jena of Congress and Bijay Kumar Swain of BJP are locked in a triangular contest.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is being challenged in his home turf of Hinjili by Pitambar Acharya of BJP and Sambhu Panigrahi of Congress.