BJD loses its grip on tribal seats

The BJP won 19 ST-reserved Assembly segments this time while Congress managed to bag eight and CPI(Marxist) won Bonai.
Representative Image
Representative ImageExpress Illustration

BHUBANESWAR: The BJD, despite its claims of development of the tribal communities, did not score well in the Scheduled Tribe (ST)-reserved Assembly segments.

Of the 34 Assembly segments that are reserved for STs in the state, BJD could win just five this time. In 2019, it had won 18 such seats. Of these 18 seats, the party could retain just three - Dabugam, Lanjigarh and Baliguda - this time. Additionally, it won Birmitrapur and Sundargarh.

Manohar Randhari of the regional party managed to win Dabugam by defeating his Congress rival Lipika Majhi by 21,455 votes. Pradip Kumar Dishari won Lanjigarh with a margin of 6,501 votes against his Congress rival Balabhadra Majhi. Likewise, BJD’s Chakramani Kanhar wrestled the Baliguda seat from Congress’ Upendra Pradhan by only 1,671 votes. In Birmitrapur, BJD had fielded former Congress leader Rohit Joseph Tirkey against BJP’s Shankar Oram who had won the seat last time.

The 18 seats that the BJD had won last time were Kuchinda in Sambalpur district; Telkoi and Patna in Keonjhar; Bangriposi and Karanjia in Mayurbhanj; Jharigam, Nabarangpur and Dabugam in Nabarangpur; Lanjigarh in Kalahandi; Baliguda, G Udayagiri and Phulbani in Kandhamal; Gunupur and Bissamcuttack in Rayagada; Laxmipur, Kotpad and Pottangi in Koraput and Chitrakonda in Malkangiri.

BJP had won 11 of the ST-reserved segments in Malkangiri (1), Nabarangpur (1), Mayurbhanj (3), Keonjhar (1) and Sundargarh (3) districts. Congress had won two such seats - Rajgangpur in Sundargarh and Mohana in Gajapati.

On the contrary, the BJP won 19 ST-reserved Assembly segments this time while Congress managed to bag eight and CPI(Marxist) won Bonai.

Interestingly, even the ST and SC Development Minister Jagannath Saraka could not retain his Bissamcuttack seat which he had won in 2014 and 2019 elections. Saraka lost the segment to Congress’ Nilamadhab Hikaka by a margin of 9,403 votes. While the BJD had this time given the Bangriposi ticket to Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi’s wife Ranjita Marndi, the seat was won by 29-year-old Sanjali Murmu of BJP with 34,476 votes.

Political analysts said in the segments under Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts, President Droupadi Murmu and Modi factors worked in favour of BJP. But in other seats, there were several development issues like migration, health, drinking water or forest rights that worked against the BJD.

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