Stage set for last phase polls in Odisha on June 31

The BJD had won all the seven Assembly segments in Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur while winning six each under Bhadrak and Balasore.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

BHUBANESWAR: The stage is set for the final phase elections in Odisha which will decide the fate of several heavyweights. All eyes will be on the Kendrapara and Balasore Lok Sabha seats from where BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda and former Union minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi are in the fray.

Panda is pitted against Anshuman Mohanty of the BJD and Sidharth Swarup Das of the Congress. At Balasore, Sarangi faces former Union minister Srikant Jena of the Congress and BJD’s Lekhasri Samantsinghar. Besides, an interesting fight is also on the cards in Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat where BJD candidate and state Revenue minister Sudam Marndi is trying to wrest the seat from BJP which has fielded a sitting MLA Naba Charan Majhi.

Six Lok Sabha seats - Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur - and 42 Assembly segments under them will go to polls on Saturday. Barring Mayurbhanj and Balasore, the four other seats in the coastal belt of the state are known to be BJD strongholds.

Out of the six seats, BJD had won four and two had gone to BJP in 2019. The BJP has worked hard to breach the BJD bastion, pressing its top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home minister Amit Shah along with chief ministers and Union ministers to campaign intensively in the districts. Besides the Lok Sabha constituencies, the saffron party is also hopeful of making inroads in the Assembly seats in the coastal districts.

In the 2019 election, out of the 42 Assembly seats, 35 had gone to BJD while the BJP won seven. The BJD had won all the seven Assembly segments in Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur while winning six each under Bhadrak and Balasore. While BJP is confident of a good show this time, the ruling party leaders, however, claimed that the BJD will wrest Balasore and Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats and also improve Assembly seat tally in this phase.

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