Chandbali: With the campaign hitting its peak candidates in the Chandbali Assembly constituency in Bhadrak are focusing on Dhamra, an area known for its port and businesses.
The port and rail connectivity here has been contributing to the economy of the state as well as the country. A proposed gas terminal has given hopes of jobs to the locals and is expected to give a boost to the economy. Besides, the gas terminal will also enhance the importance of the port.
Leaders of all the major parties are camping in the area to woo voters. As a result, the focus is now on Dhamra, political analysts say.
The people here are troubled by transportation problems due to the absence of a bridge across river Mantei. Thousands of people living in villages on one side of the river have been cut off from the block headquarters as the government has not been able to build a bridge across the river.
A bridge has been the long pending demand of the people here. “The development in Dhamra has been confined to one side of river Mantei due to the absence of a bridge. The absence of a bridge has deprived the people on the other side of development. People dreaming of jobs in the port area are upset due to this,” a local said.
There is scope for industrial units to come up in the port area, but that has not happened so far. The port was commissioned in 2012. Although the port is booming, locals are disappointed as they have not got jobs.
The candidates in the fray are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters promising jobs and other things.
There are eight panchayats to the east of Mantei. They are Bansada, Jagula, Kaithakhola, Karanjamala, Karanapalli, Dosinga, Dhamra and Panchutrikri. The Zilla Parishad of Bansada is in Zone-4 while seven other panchayats are in Zone-5.
These eight panchayats used to be a BJD bastion. However, after the 2017 panchayat elections the Congress expanded its base. The BJP also began striking at its base.
During elections in the eight panchayats the BJD got 17,122 votes, the Congress 14,059 votes and the BJP 3,944 votes.
Realising the threat to its voter base, the BJD launched a damage control exercise. It managed to elect Dhamra Panchayat Samiti member Manasi Sahu as chairman of the block to keep the people of the area in good humour.
Now, the BJD organisation here is said to have split despite its efforts to keep its base intact.
Infighting in the BJD unit here has become a problem for its nominee Byomkesh Ray.
Congress nominee Digamabal Das has been trying to play the son of the soil card to woo voters as he belongs to Bansada.
Although the BJP base here is not strong, its nominee Manmohan Samal has been trying to widen his base. Support for him is said to be increasing among the voters.
Political analysts say the fate of the candidates depend on the people living in the eight panchayats of Dhamra area. The frontline leaders of all the three major parties are camping in the area.