Bhawanipatna: The Bhawanipatna Assembly segment of Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency is set for a battle between old candidates sporting new faces as the campaign ended Tuesday.
Bhawanipatna is scheduled to go to polls April 11 in the first phase. The seat reserved for Scheduled Castes has seven candidates including three from the BJD, the BJP and the Congress.
The BJD has fielded former MLA and Congress defector Dushmant Kumar Nayak instead of incumbent Anam Nayak.
The BJP has picked Pradipta Kumar Nayak as its candidate. He is a former minister and has won twice from this seat.
The Congress candidate is Sagar Charan Das, the son of Bhakta Charan Das, a former Union Minister and OPCC campaign committee chairman.
Political analysts say the seat will witness a triangular contest between the BJD, BJP and Congress candidates as the three parties are leaving no stone unturned to emerge victorious.
BJD’s Anam Nayak won this seat in 2014 while Congress candidate Dushmant Nayak came second. A few months ago Dushmant left the Congress and joined the BJD, and he finally got the party’s ticket.
Dushmant said the people are with him as he has been working for them for many years. He said the clean image of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his development projects will definitely help him win.
Dushmant was elected as an MLA in 2009 on a Congress ticket. He lost in 2014 and had given up all hope of getting the Congress ticket in this election as Bhakta Das was preparing to field his son from the seat. So he left the Congress and joined the BJD.
The BJP’s Pradipta Nayak came second in the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and was a hopeful from the Parliamentary constituency this time too. However, the party fielded state unit president Basant Kumar Panda from Kalahandi LS seat and fielded Pradipta from Bhawanipatna Assembly seat.
Pradipta was disappointed after failing to get ticket in the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, but later decided to contest from the Assembly seat. Many hopefuls were disappointed when BJP picked Pradipta for Bhawanipatna.
Pradipta won twice from Bhawanipatna in 2000 and 2004. He also became a minister in the BJD-BJP government in 2004, but was defeated by Dushmant in 2009.
He has been out of power for 10 years, but strengthened the BJP network in the district as the party’s district unit president.
Pradipta said he will win this election on the strength of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development plank.
Sagar Charan Das has been active in organising Congress meetings after he entered the picture. He is expecting students and the youth to support him, and is also banking on the rapport he has established with the people and his father’s political acumen.
Observers said that Sagar will find it easy as his father is contesting as the Congress candidate in the Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency.
Sagar said that both the state government and the Centre are corrupt and that farmers are being neglected in the state. He has highlighted these issues in his campaign.