Odisha LS polls: Malavika clinches Kalahandi, another setback for Bhakta

BJP which swept the polls in the state could manage to win only Dharmagarh Assembly segment in Kalahandi district.
Malavika Devi
Malavika Devi

BHAWANIPATNA: Malavika Devi of BJP won the Kalahandi parliamentary seat defeating her nearest BJD rival, Lambodar Nial by a margin of 1,30,278 votes. A first timer, Malavika belongs to Kalahandi royal family. Her husband Arkakesari Deo was elected to the parliament in 2014 on a BJD ticket.

Meanwhile, the 2024 election has emerged as yet another debacle for Congress’ Bhakta Das who lost to BJD’s Manorama Mohanty by a margin of 5,205 votes. Bhakta has had a chequered political career. He made his debut in 1985 when he won Bhawanipatna Assembly seat as a Janata Party candidate defeating Congress’ heavyweight Dayanidhi Naik by narrow margin of 517 votes. In 1989, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kalahandi parliamentary seat as a Janata Party candidate and from 1990 to 91 was minister youth affairs for five months and then state minister for railways in the VP Singh and Chandrasekhar governments respectively.

Bhakta unsuccessfully contested from the parliamentary seat again as a Samata party candidate and later on a Congress ticket. In the 1995 Assembly elections, he contested from Dharamgarh and Kesinga as Samata party candidate but lost both the seats. After a long dry spell, he made a comeback in 2009 by winning Kalahandi parliamentary seat. But he was defeated in 2014 and 2019 and this prompted him to declare he will never again contest from Kalahandi unless people ask him. However he contested time and his defeat may well signify his end of political career.

Bhakta’s only solace is that his son Sagar Charan Das won the Bhawanipatna Assembly seat on a Congress ticket. Meanwhile, BJP which swept the polls in the state could manage to win only Dharmagarh Assembly segment in Kalahandi district. The party’s candidate Sudhir Ranjan Pattjoshi defeated BJD’s seasoned leader Puspendra Singhdeo by a margin of 18,685 votes. A lawyer by profession, Sudhir is a first timer but as the sole BJP MLA from Kalahandi may get a berth in the cabinet, said sources.

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