PURI: With a large number of Congress workers either joining BJD or BJP, party candidate for Pipili Assembly constituency Ajit Mangaraj has been trying hard to keep the flock together. In the absence of senior Congress leader Judhistir Samantaray, who refused to contest from the seat, Ajit is highlighting the failure of the NDA Government at the Centre and BJD Government in the State. Pitted against sitting MLA and BJD strongman Pradip Maharathy, he has been reaching out to voters by undertaking door-to-door campaign.
BJP candidate Asrit Patnaik, who was earlier elected as a Zilla Parishad member from Congress, is upbeat with several Congress leaders switching over to the saffron party. Asrit had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 elections as an Independent candidate and was placed third. Maharathy had made his electoral debut in 1985 and except for 1990, he has been elected five times from the seat.
The BJD stalwart’s opponents have been highlighting his anti-women image and controversies which cost him his ministerial berth. However, Maharathy too is upbeat about a large number of Congress workers joining BJD. He is busy strengthening his fort.Pipili will go to polls on Tuesday.