JAGATSINGHPUR: The BJP’s surge in the four Assembly segments and the lone Parliamentary constituency of Jagatsinghpur district has emerged as a cause of concern for both the BJD and Congress. This time, the saffron party has been aggressive in its campaign with its banners, leaflets, road shows and public meetings dominating the rural areas of the district. Frequent campaign and election meetings in the four Assembly segments by Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and other star campaigners favours the ruling party but the BJP is putting up a strong challenge. Besides, BJD and Congress are worried about division of their votes.
The BJD is grappling with intense discontent among its workers with several of them up in arms against its candidate for Paradip Assembly segment Sambit Routray. His father Damodar Rout’s rants against the BJD supremo before he was expelled from the ruling party has emerged as a major issue for Sambit. This apart, the party’s rebels, who are allegedly supporters of BJD MP candidate Rajshree Mallick, have been protesting the candidature of Bishnu Das from Tirtol Assembly segment.
Similarly, the supporters of sitting legislator of Balikuda-Erasama Assembly seat Prasant Muduli are protesting against the party’s candidate Raghunandan Das while those who support district BJD president Amarendra Das are up in arms against Muduli. Such animosity is not going to help the ruling party in the polls, feel political analysts. The ill will among BJD workers had come out in the open during the Chief Minister’s election meeting on April 22 where a clash was reported among supporters of Muduli and Das.
Even though the leaders of the BJD and Congress are intensifying their campaign to ensure victory of their candidates, warring factions of the outfit have shown no such enthusiasm.
Expect Jagatsinghpur seat, the Congress has a weak hold over the rest of the constituencies where a direct fight is likely between the BJP and BJD. Winning from Balikuda-Erasama Assembly segment has become a prestige issue for Rout, who is contesting the polls as a BJP candidate this time. Sources said he is trying to exploit the resentment against Das.