JAGATSINGHPUR: Electoral battles in Jagatsinghpur district have never been as unpredictable as they are this time. With few hours to go for polling in the district, discussions at public places are mostly centred around former Minister Damodar Rout and his son Sambit Routray, who are contesting the polls from Balikuda-Erasama and Paradip respectively. While Rout has been fielded by the BJP from Balikuda Erasama Assembly seat, his son is in fray from Paradip on a BJD ticket.
Besides, animated discussions on the fate of Devi Prasad Mallick, who is contesting from Tirtol Assembly segment on a Congress ticket and his sister Pratima Mallick, in fray from Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seat, are common in both urban and rural areas of the district.
The one factor that distinguishes the current polls from the previous ones is unpredictability. Never before has the electoral battle in the district been so uncertain with triangular contests in store in all the four Assembly segments and the lone Lok Sabha seat. Sanjay Barik, who runs a betel shop in Tirtol said, the discussions related to polls are mainly about Rout and his son. “Despite political parties’ claims, each and every seat is in for a tough fight this time,” he said.
The other political heavyweights, whose fate will be decided by the 11,79,902 voters in the district on Monday are Congress leader Chiranjib Biswal and his rival Prasant Muduli of BJD, former Minister Bishnu Das, Tirtol MLA Rajshree Mallick, former MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, trade union leader and Congress leader Bapi Sarkhel and former MLA Lalatendu Mohapatra.
The fight would be particularly interesting in Balikuda-Erasama where the fate of Rout, who is contesting on a BJP ticket this time, is uncertain. The former Minister is a political heavyweight in the true sense. However, intra-party conflict and discontent among voters owing to his rants against Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, makes the battle of 2019 the toughest ever for Rout.