BHADRAK: The BJD seems to facing a stiff challenge in at least four Assembly segments of Bhadrak Parliamentary constituency which goes to polls on Monday.
Of the five Assembly segments in the district, a straight fight between BJD and Congress is on cards in two seats while two are set to witness a keen contest between BJD and BJP. A triangular contest is expected in Bhadrak.
The grand old party has fielded OPCC Niranjan Patnaik from Bhandaripokhari where the BJD has placed its faith on old war horse and Minister Prafulla Samal. BJP has fielded its district president Badrinarayan Dhal from the seat. The Bhandaripokhari Assembly segment was once a Congress bastion but it was wrested by the BJD in 2000. Minister Samal has been elected twice consecutively since 2009.
The going in this election, though, looks tough for Samal as he is saddled with dissidence and corruption charges. Niranjan is leaving no stone unturned to win the seat. The OPCC chief has made several BJD workers join the Congress at the panchayat level. The BJP, on the other hand, is banking on the PM Modi to bring it to a fighting position. Bhandaripokari has 2,27,544 voters including 1,30,832 females.
The Congress has an edge over its rivals in Basudevpur too owing to its candidate Ashok Das’ popularity. The inactivity of BJP leaders and workers in the Assembly segment from where the party has fielded newcomer Madhabananda Mallick, has made it easier for the party.
BJD candidate for the seat Bishnubrata Rout, son of Forest and Environment Minister Bijayashree Routray, however, exuded confidence that he would emerge victorious. Bishnubrata has been facing opposition from dissidents over his candidature. The Assembly segment has as many as 2,51,173 voters including 1,19,714 women.