Odisha: BJD, BJP, JMM set for battle of supremacy in Mayurbhanj

Congress had not fielded a candidate from the constituency in 2019 election and extended support to JMM.
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Representative image

BHUBANESWAR: BJD, BJP and JMM are all set for a fierce triangular battle of supremacy in the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency.

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Odisha: Anjani gets second chance as JMM’s Mayurbhanj LS candidate

While the two major players BJD and BJP have changed their candidates, JMM has once again nominated its state president Anjani Soren, daughter of veteran leader and founder of JMM Shibu Soren from the seat.

However, the electoral fight in the constituency this time will be mainly between BJD candidate Sudam Marndi and his BJP rival Naba Charan Majhi with the regional outfit leaving no stones unturned to wrest the seat from the saffron party.

Observers believe the JMM will be the third force to reckon with in the constituency. Though Congress was a major player in earlier elections, its status has been reduced to that of a fringe player with a dwindling support base. Congress had not fielded a candidate from the constituency in 2019 election and extended support to JMM.

Such are the political dynamics in the constituency that both the BJD and BJP changed their candidates this time. While the BJP dropped Union Minister for Tribal Affairs and Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu and reposed faith on Majhi who is the sitting MLA of the party from Rairangpur Assembly segment, the BJD has fielded Sudam Marndi, Odisha’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister and a former MP from the seat.

Though the JMM plays a prominent role in politics of the district, Sudam had won the seat only once in 2004. The seat was with the BJP in 1998 and 1999 when its candidate Salkhan Murmu won consecutively. But after the alliance between BJD and BJP broke in 2009, the seat was won by Laxman Tudu and Ramchandra Hansdah of BJD in 2009 and 2014.

The 2019 elections saw BJP’s dominance in the constituency. Besides winning the Lok Sabha seat, BJP candidates won five of seven Assembly segments under the parliamentary constituency. The importance attached by the BJD to its organisational revival in the district can be gauged from the fact that organisational secretary of the party Pranab Prakash Das was given charge of the district and made the district observer.

However, BJD sources maintained the regional outfit has recovered its lost base in the district as was evident from the results of the zilla parishad elections in which the party’s candidates won from a majority of seats.

The BJP candidate had won by a margin of a little over 25,000 votes in 2019. It remains to be seen whether the change of candidate by BJP will enable it to retain the seat. However, nothing is certain this time as BJD has fielded Sudam, an old political player in the region with solid pocket votes.

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