BHUBANESWAR: With only a day remaining for the third phase elections, the poll battle for the three Assembly segments of the Capital City has reached a climax. As the three seats are urban in nature, the BJP is pushing hard to wrest the seats from BJD even as the ruling party camp is confident of retaining the constituencies.
The BJD has fielded former mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Ananta Narayan Jena from the Bhubaneswar Central seat. Pitted against him are Jagannath Pradhan of BJP and Rajeeb Kumar Patnaik of Congress. The ruling BJD had nominated the former mayor by denying ticket to the party’s sitting MLA Bijay Mohanty, keeping an eye on slum votes which will be the deciding factor in this constituency.
However, BJP candidate Pradhan, who had contested the 2014 polls unsuccessfully, is also putting up a spirited fight by harping on the alleged failure of the Naveen Patnaik Government in the last 19 years. Because of the urban nature of the constituency, anti-incumbency is likely to be a factor though it remains to be seen how much it will be translated to votes for the opposition BJP and Congress candidate in view of the strong network of BJD.
The Ekamra-Bhubaneswar seat has turned out to be prestige issue for BJD from where Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Ashok Chandra Panda is testing his luck again. Pitted against him is Babu Singh of BJP who quit BJD to join the saffron party. Singh has launched an intense campaign to wrest the seat from the ruling party this time. As Singh was the former president of Bhubaneswar district BJD, he seems to be matching Panda’s resources and manpower in the fight for the seat. The Congress has fielded Rashmi Rekha Mohapatra from the seat.
The BJP has fielded cinestar of yesteryears Aparajita Mohanty from Bhubaneswar North seat in a determined bid to cause a setback for the ruling BJD which denied ticket to sitting MLA Priyadarshi Mishra and nominated Susant Kumar Rout, an entrepreneur. Rout, who is relatively an unknown face, is banking on the charisma of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to retain the seat. Former NSUI State president Itish Kumar Pradhan of Congress is giving a tough challenge to BJP and BJD candidates from the seat.