CUTTACK: Non-fulfilment of promises and scam-tainted image of his father sitting MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal are posing a huge challenge to BJD candidate Souvik Biswal in the Cuttack-Choudwar Assembly segment.
Locked in a tough triangular fight with BJP State vice president Nayan Kishore Mohanty and former Rajasthan additional chief secretary Jagdish Chandra Mohanty of Congress, Souvic is up against the blemish of suffered by his father, three time MLA Pravat, over his alleged links with the chit fund scam. Pravat had been arrested by the CBI on charges of involvement in the Seashore chit fund scam and was released on bail last year.
Nominated by the BJD supremo instead of his father, due to the very reason, Souvic is also facing difficulties during electioneering as people are questioning Pravat’s failure to keep the promises of revival of closed industries like OTM, BILT Paper Mill and Libra Carpets in Choudwar.
However, Souvic is unfazed. “The evil designs of my rivals will have no impact. Popularity of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and the welfare measures of BJD Government will fetch votes for me,” he said.
Meanwhile, with Choudwar-Cuttack going to polls in the third phase on April 23, all the three candidates have intensified campaigning to woo voters. Both the Congress and BJP are raising the chit fund scam to the hilt to turn the public mood against Souvic.
Congress nominee Jagdish exuded confidence that he would wrest the seat from BJD this time. “People of Choudwar-Cuttack are yet to get basic amenities. Though there is huge scope for setting up industries in Choudwar, lack of political will and callousness of officials have stood as hindrances on the path of the area’s development,” Mohanty said.
BJP candidate Nayan, however, criticised both the BJD and Congress for their failure to fulfil their promises to develop the constituency. “People have lost faith in BJD and Congress and have made up their mind for a change,” he said.
However, in the contest among the three major parties, an Independent candidate Dipak Barik will also play a decisive role. A well known social activist who has been spearheading the ‘OTM Banchao Andolan’ in Choudwar for the last 14 years, Dipak had unsuccessfully contested as an Independent candidate from the constituency in 2009 elections and was placed in second position by bagging 25,718 votes.
Political observers opined that Dipak will play an important role in deciding the fate of the other three candidates.