Chhendipada: The Chhendipada Assembly constituency in Angul district is expected to see a triangular fight among the BJD, BJP and the Congress. Campaigning by ticket hopefuls has picked up after announcement of the election schedule.
The administration stepped up patrolling and carried out raids to keep tabs on vehicles. The authorities have identified Nalco, the Nisha industrial area, Chhendipada and Jarpada as sensitive areas, and have taken steps to ensure free and fair elections.
All parties are active now and there are numerous hopefuls for tickets in all the parties. The Chhendipada Assembly seat comes under the Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency. The coming election is the sixth Assembly polls in Chhendipada.
Congress leader Padda Nayak was elected as MLA from Chhendipada in 1961. Nabaghan Nayak of the Jana Congress was elected in 1967 and Bhajamana Behera of the Utkal Congress in 1971. Khageswar Behera of the BJD and Susant Behera were elected as MLAs from Chhendipada in 2009 and 2014.
The seat used to see a strong fight between the Congress and the BJD, but the political equations have changed recently as the BJP registered a huge success in the last panchayat elections. The BJP is now a strong contender against the BJD and the Congress in Chhendipada.
The general impression here is that the BJP will come second after the BJD and the Congress will come third.
Political atmosphere here is heating up as elections get closer. In addition to the contest between the main parties there is considerable infighting in all the parties here. The people think the infighting will have its impact during the general elections.
The ticket hopefuls of all major parties have started their calculations. The Chhendipada Assembly seat was reserved for SC candidates in the 2004 Assembly election.
The BJD fielded Khageswar Behera as its nominee, the Congress Agasti Behera and the BJP Sanjya Nayak in 2009 from Chhendipada. BJD nominee Khageswar Behera defeated Congress candidate Agasti Behera by 40,906 votes.
In 2014, the BJD, the Congress and the BJP fielded Sushant Kumar Behera, Agasti Behera and Santosh Kumar Behera respectively as their candidates.
BJD candidate Sushant Kumar Behera defeated Congress nominee Agasti Behera by 90,807 votes.
This time a change is expected in Chhendipada as the BJP has emerged as a strong adversary against the BJD.
Incumbent BJD MLA Sushant Kumar Behera is hopeful of getting the ticket this time. Former BJD MLA Khageswar Behera has been campaigning hoping to get the ticket.
The other BJD ticket hopefuls here are Dalit Mahasangh Secretary Raraj Kishor Nayak, former Director of Cooperation Panchana Behera and retired bank employee Subal Sethi. They are holding meetings with their supporters.
The situation is the same in the case of BJP ticket hopefuls too. Former Congress leader Agasti Behera is now in the BJP, and he is one of the ticket hopefuls. Former BJD leader Santosh Nayak is also a hopeful.
The BJP is expected to face a tough time in selecting candidates because of the infighting.
The Congress has two ticket hopefuls, its state SC cell convener Narottam Nayak and the Congress’s state unit vice-president Sasmita Behera.
The Congress is also facing infighting in its ranks, and this can turn out to be a serious problem for the party in selecting candidates.