Dhenkanal: Three former MLAs contesting from the Dhenkanal Assembly segment (No. 55) are pulling out all stops to wrest the seat as the constituency under Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat goes to polls April 23, in the third phase.
The slogans blared out from public address systems, the rallies of parties under the scorching sun, the scenes of candidates moving from door to door seeking votes have all fallen silent with the campaigning coming to an end at 5pm Sunday.
The seat is witnessing a triangular contest among three former MLAs of BJD, BJP and Congress. However, if the last 30 years record is taken into account no candidate has ever won from this seat for the second time.
A total of 11 candidates are in the fray from this Assembly seat.
The BJD has fielded former MLA Sudhir Kumar Samal who won from this constituency on a Congress ticket in 2004. The ruling party is leaving no stone unturned to retain the seat which it won in 2014.
The BJP nominee is Krushna Chandra Patra, who represented this constituency in 2000. Patra is banking on the ‘Modi wave’ and the call of the Prime Minister for a change in the state government.
The Congress candidate is Navin Nanda. He won from the dissolved Gondia Assembly seat as a BJD candidate in 2000. Later, he joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and won in 2009 from the Dhenkanal seat.
Later, he returned to BJD but joined Congress soon before the elections. Nanda frequently changing parties during elections has always been matter of discussion in political circles.
This apart, Ganeshwar Pradhan is contesting on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket, Akshaya Rout on Samata Kranti Dal ticket, Ashis Kumar Mishra from Aam Admi Party (AAP), Patitapaban Mishra from All India Forward Block, Bikash Nayak from Hindustan Nirman Dal, Bhajaman Rout of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and Gudia Sharma and Meghanada Nanda as Independent candidates.
The Assembly seat constitutes 21 panchayats under Sadar block and 30 panchayats under Gondia block. All eyes are on the voters of Gondia block who have been always instrumental in deciding the outcome of the polls in every election.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Gondia to campaign for the BJD candidate Sudhir Kumar Samal while BJP’s Lok Sabha nominee Rudra Narayan Pani and Assembly nominee Krushna Chandra Patra participated in a roadshow and street corner meetings in the area Saturday.
Nanda being a native of Gondia is trying to woo the voters by claiming himself as the son of the soil. He participated in a bike rally from Deogaon to Dhenkanal Mini Stadium and attended a public meeting there Saturday. The Congress nominee is trying to woo the voters accusing both BJD and BJP of neglecting the local problems.
In 1990, Tathagata Satpathy had won from the Dhenkanal Assembly seat on a Janata Dal ticket, in 1995 Congress nominee Nabin Chandra Narayan Das had won, BJP nominee Krushna Chandra Patra had won in 2000, Congress nominee Sudhir Kumar Samal in 2004, NCP nominee Navin Nanda in 2009 and BJD nominee Saroj Kumar Samal in 2014.