Campaign heat in Cuttack as voting day approaches

The constituency is vital for every party and BJP is pressing all its might to make the most of Modi wave.
 Santrupt Misra (R),Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Santrupt Misra (R),Bhartruhari Mahtab.

CUTTACK: With just five days remaining for the third phase election in Odisha, campaigning has assumed high pitch in Cuttack Lok Sabha constituency with candidates of BJD, BJP and Congress leaving no stone unturned to woo voters.

While the BJD seems to have an upper-hand not only by selecting its candidate former corporate honcho Santrupt Misra much earlier than the its opponents, but also counting on its impregnable organisational strength in the constituency, the main rival BJP is no push over despite battling many complications.

The saffron party has nominated Bhartruhari Mahtab, a six-time MP from the ruling party who switched sides recently. Mahtab, a best parliamentarian awardee, is relying on the Modi factor and the rising graph of BJP in the district to challenge the BJD bastion and retain his seat.

Congress, which announced its candidate Suresh Mohapatra at the last moment seems to be on the backfoot in terms of campaigning. Generally, MP candidates depend on Assembly nominees who help them in winning elections. At present, of the seven Assembly segments, while Barbati-Cuttack is with Congress, the rest six are with BJD. Comprising seven Assembly segments- Barabati-Cuttack, Choudwar-Cuttack, Cuttack Sadar, Athagarh, Badamba, Banki and Khandapada, the Cuttack parliamentary constituency continues to be a BJD fortress.

If the results of last three terms - 2009, 2014 and 2019 are analysed, the voting percentage of BJD has gone down from 57.2 per cent, 53.8 per cent to 49.9 per cent respectively. Similarly, Congress’ voting percentage has seen a decline with 28.1 per cent, 22.4 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively. But BJP’s voting percentage has been rising constantly. It was 9.2 per cent in 2009, 14.9 per cent in 2014 and 38.1 in 2019.

Due to early nomination and sufficient time in hand, Misra has been able to cover all the seven Assembly segments with the help of local party candidates all of whom except Khandapada Assembly segment of Nayagarh district are from BJD. Misra also recently released ‘Ideas Manifesto-Mo Cuttack’ a special manifesto for resolving and addressing problems in the Assembly segments.

The constituency is vital for every party and BJP is pressing all its might to make the most of Modi wave. While Union Ministers Amit Shah and Ashwini Vaishnaw have already campaigned in the constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Cuttack to seek votes for his candidates on Monday.

Mohapatra is banking on his party’s traditional vote bank. Except Barabati-Cuttack and Banki, the grand old party’s organisation remains weak in other Assembly segments.

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The New Indian Express