BALANGIR: The battle is between old hand and new blood in Balangir Assembly constituency.
With Balangir going to polls on Thursday, voters have to choose between the experience and wisdom of Congress candidate and Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra and fresh face and youthfulness of BJD nominee Arkesh Singh Deo. The third contender in the race is BJP’s Ananta Das who is also expected to put up a good show in the elections.
Sources said earlier when Mishra was nominated by Congress for Balangir, it seemed the constituency will be a cakewalk for the veteran leader. The incumbent MLA in the last five years had tried to address major problems facing the public.
However, the political scene has changed drastically since then with revolt in Congress coming to the fore. Mishra, who has been seeking votes in the name of developmental works he has carried out in the last five years, has lost some ground after nine party leaders including Laxman Meher and his wife, who is also Deogaon block chairperson, quit Congress and joined the ruling BJD.
In the recent past, BJD has embraced local leaders like Arun Mishra, Lalit Nayak, Basudev Pati and Bhagaban Bagarti to its camp, which has proved beneficial both for the party and its candidates. Inclusion of Pati, who is a former BJP MLA candidate, has particularly come as a boon for Arkesh and setbacks for both Mishra and Das. In the last elections, Pati had secured more than 34,000 votes.
In the changed scenario, BJP candidate Das has intensified campaigning to woo the voters. Sources said all the three candidates have embarked on door-to-door campaigning and organising meetings in different areas of the town. Family members of the candidates have also hit the campaign trail.
A voter said as things stand now, it is difficult to predict who will win the elections from Balangir.