Tug of war intensifies between BJD and Congress as poll inches closer

While the ruling party’s chairperson candidate Sarita Sahoo is aiming to retain the BJD fort against all odds, her Congress counterpart Laxmipriya Barik is not far behind.

Published: 17th March 2022 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2022 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

EVM, Voting, Election

Representational Image (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA:  The 153-year-old Kendrapara municipality is all set to see a fierce battle, primarily between the BJD and the Congress with both parties campaigning aggressively in the run-up to the polls on March 24.

While the ruling party’s chairperson candidate Sarita Sahoo is aiming to retain the BJD fort against all odds, her Congress counterpart Laxmipriya Barik is not far behind. She believes eating up a sizable vote share of the BJD is not difficult as Congress reportedly has a good base in the Muslim community which claims nearly 8,000 out of 36,718 votes in the municipality.   

As per reports, former minister Ganeswar Behera and former Kendrapara municipality chairman Akbar Ali are campaigning for Laxmipriya. “We hope disappointment of people with two principal players - the BJP and BJD - would make them lean towards Congress,” said Behera. BJD chairperson nominee Sarita Sahoo is equally confident about pulling off a win. Elated with BJD’s winning spree in the recently-concluded rural elections, Sarita feels the party will achieve a similar feat in the civic polls. “BJD bagged 31 out of 32 zilla parishad seats. The party also won chairperson posts in all nine blocks. Moreover, voters are happy with the developmental works carried out in the town in last two decades,” said Sarita.

L to R - Sarita Sahoo (BJD), Meenakshi Dash (BJP), Laxmipriya Barik (Cong) | Express

On the other hand, BJP chairperson candidate Meenakshi Dash dismissed the ruling party’s claims and said local issues like corruption, bad roads and drinking water crisis are in focus. This will only make the BJD’s path tougher as a sense of neglect is brewing among the residents.

Sources say, while BJD seems confident, discontentment among beedi binders - one of its staunchest support group- may not augur well for the party. Lives of around 4,000 beedi makers, mostly from minority community in the town, have taken a hit due to the pandemic. Since BJD has done nothing to help them, it could lose out on their votes, said local trade union leader Jagajiban Das.



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