Bhograi: With only a few days to go for polling, the BJD and the Opposition have intensified their campaigns in the Bhograi Assembly constituency of Balasore.
Eight candidates are in the fray here. But going by the campaign and organisation strength, the main contest is between the BJD and the Congress.
Bhograi is an important Assembly seat in Odisha, on the border with West Bengal. It has 50 panchayats. It was once a bastion of the Congress, but the grand old party lost it in 1990 to the Janata Dal and subsequently to the BJD.
Retired government officer Ananta Das joined the BJD and contested the 2004 Assembly polls successfully. He has been elected thrice consecutively.
Before that Congress leader Dr Kartikeswar Patra was elected and freedom fighter Pyarimohan Das won from here twice. Dr Kamala Das was elected from this seat thrice.
This time, the BJD has fielded its heavyweight Ananta Das for the fourth time. Ananta is going to face a tough fight from Congress’ Satyashiba Das.
The BJP has given its ticket to Anshuman Mohanty. The BSP has fielded Nalini Kumar Jena, the TMC Sheik Salim Ali and the Janata Party (S) Girish Chandra Parida. The Independents in the fray are Ranjib Kumar Das and Ramhari Sur.
The political equation here has changed with numerous crossovers and infighting in major parties.
The BJP is at a disadvantage due to the non-cooperation of its disgruntled frontline leaders. This has led to factionalism within the saffron party. BJP workers are unwilling to accept the party nominee. It may affect the performance of the party, political analysts say.
The BJP had initially announced Manas Mohanty as its nominee. Later, he was replaced by young entrepreneur Anshuman Mohanty. Manas is naturally sore with the leadership.
Denying Manas the ticket led to an unpleasant scene in Bhogari. Party’s Balasore Lok Sabha nominee Pratap Sarangi had to rush to the spot to douse the fire, but he had to face an embarrassing situation with supporters of Manas reportedly surrounding him.
Manas and his supporters finally sided with the BJD’s Lok Sabha nominee Rabindra Jena. The BJP’s nominee replacement seems to have boomeranged.
Ranjit Kumar Das, a retired officer of NABARD, is contesting as an Independent. He is banking on floating votes, the educated and rural voters. It is said that he could be a deciding factor in the elections.
BJD heavyweight and higher education minister Ananta Das said, “I am a servant of the people of Bhograi. The socio-economic scenario of Bhograi has changed a lot with remarkable achievements in education, communication, tourism, drinking water, drainage, food security and agriculture. This became possible only with the cooperation of the people in this constituency.”
He also added that the Chief Minister has reposed faith in him and gave him a chance to contest again. “If I get the blessings of the people of Bhograi, I will complete all pending works,” Das said.
Congress nominee Satyashiba Das said, “Since 19 years, the BJD has been exploiting Bhograi. The BJD is standing on mountains of corruption. This time it is power vs sincerity. We will win and build a new Bhograi.”
Independent Ranjit Kumar Das said, “The fate of Bhograi will change if its resources are exploited. There is need for political will here.” He has been asking the people to vote for him to bring faster development in Bhograi.
About the poll scenario, Gopal Chandra Sahu, advisor to Pansohria Betel Market, said the public is leaning towards the BJD candidate Ananta Das and he will win this time.
However, Arun Giri, a resident of Banabasana, had a different view. He said the Congress candidate has a clean image and has a good chance of winning.
Subash Kundu of Barudkhai village said that Independent candidate Ranjit Kumar Das will come out victorious.