TALCHER: IT will be a four-cornered fight in Talcher Assembly segment that will go to polls on April 23.
The contest in the coal belt will be among sitting MLA and BJD candidate Brajakishore Pradhan, Kalandi Samal of BJP, Suresh Behera of Congress and Independent candidate Manoj Pradhan. Last time, Talcher had gone to BJD kitty but in the panchayat election, BJP had captured four out of five Zilla Parishad seats.
After being denied ticket, the BJD rebel candidate Manoj filed his nomination as Independent and despite efforts by the ruling party leaders did not withdraw his candidature. An engineer by profession who is associated with several organisations in Talcher, Manoj claims to have support of over 30,000 votes and can pose a threat to Brajakishore’s prospects this time. In 2014 election, Brajakishore had defeated BJP candidate Kalandi by a margin of 14,322 votes.
According to poll observers, it is advantage BJP as of now. There are three factors working in the saffron party’s favour. While Kalandi faces no anti-incumbency factor, Manoj may eat into votes of the BJD and thirdly, popular leader and former MP Rabi Narayan Pani is throwing his weight behind Kalanadi.
Besides, unhappy with candidature of Brajakishore, a lot of BJD workers led by senior leader Niru Pradhan have shifted to BJP. “The prospects of Kalandi will be determined by the number of BJD votes that Manoj manages to sway in his favour,” poll observers pointed out. Pani’s quitting BJD and joining BJP after being denied ticket from Pallahara is a boost for the saffron party not just in Talcher but also in Pallahara segment, observers added.
The BJD camp is also hopeful winning the segment again. Brajakishore is banking on the development works and schemes launches by BJD-led State Government and Naveen Patnaik’s popularity among voters. His supporters said Manoj will have no impact on Brajakishore’s vote bank.