Rebel headache, BJP challenge for Souvic in Choudwar-Cuttack Assembly segment

This time, Nayan is expecting to give a tough fight to Souvic as Deepak has withdrawn his nomination and supporting him.
Souvic Biswal,
Nayan Kishore Mohanty
Souvic Biswal, Nayan Kishore Mohanty

CUTTACK: A rebel candidate is proving to be a thorn in the flesh for BJD candidate from Choudwar-Cuttack Assembly seat Souvic Biswal who is already battling anti-incumbency to retain his father’s bastion.

Locked in a tough battle with BJP’s Nayan Kishore Mohanty, 32-year-old Souvic is also facing heat from Rupali Lenka, a dissident BJD leader who has entered the poll fray as an Independent after being denied ticket by the ruling party. Rupali reportedly enjoys the support of a section of local BJD workers and has intensified her poll campaign by organising the dissidents.

In 2019 elections, the BJD had dropped Pravat Ranjan Biswal after he was embroiled in the chit fund scam and fielded his son Souvic from the Assembly seat. Taking advantage of his father’s electoral experience and organisational skills, the young politician defeated his nearest rival Nayan of BJP by a margin of 21,584 votes. Independent candidate Deepak Barik was placed in the third position by polling 14,652 votes and Jagadish Mohanty of Congress came a distant fourth with only 6,761 votes.

Though the junior Biswal emerged victorious, his winning margin dropped drastically as compared to his father who had won the 2014 polls by 41,385 votes. In 2014, Pravat had bagged 70,888 votes while his nearest rival Suresh Mohapatra of Congress had got 29,495 votes. Nayan had came third with 24,651 votes. Pravat had also won the 2009 elections by defeating Independent candidate Deepak, a social activist spearheading the OTM Banchao Andolan for the last more than two decades.

Political observers said the decrease in Souvic’s winning margin is a proof of the anti-incumbency against the BJD which has been winning the Choudwar-Cuttack seat since its formation in 2009. The Assembly segment has 2,33,297 voters.

This time, Nayan is expecting to give a tough fight to Souvic as Deepak has withdrawn his nomination and supporting him. However, a section of dissident BJP workers of four gram panchayats in Tangi-Choudwar block are reportedly unhappy with his candidature and have extended their support to Rupali. Sources said despite his best efforts, the BJP candidate has failed to placate the dissident party workers so far.

Apart from Souvic, Nayan and Rupali, Congress nominee Meera Mallick, candidates of AAP, SUCI, Samrudha Odisha and BSP and five Independents are in the fray from Choudwar-Cuttack.

The Assembly segment consists of 21 wards of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), 19 wards of Choudwar municipality and six gram panchayats of Tangi-Choudwar block.

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The New Indian Express