Rourkela: After poll dates were announced, hectic lobbying has started for Raghunathpalli Assembly seat in Sundargarh.
The Assembly segment, reserved for ST category, consists of Steel City Township, Fertiliser Township and seven panchayats under Lathikata block.
In 2009 and 2004 elections, BJD candidate Subrat Tarai won the seat. This time also, he is hopeful of getting a party ticket on the basis of his development work and political experience.
However, a section of party workers is unhappy with the legislator. Requesting anonymity, some disgruntled BJD leaders said, “Tarai, who has shown favour to a few people, will have problem in availing a party ticket this time. People of Fertiliser Township and southern Rourkela have not yet got a hospital till date.”
However, Tarai asserted that he has been working sincerely for the people and tried to please all sections of people. Some people may be unhappy for that reason, he said.
Meanwhile, new faces as BJD probables have surfaced. One of them is a branch manager of a PSU bank. He had tried for a ruling party ticket in the last election, but failed to get it. This time he is more hopeful. Another BJD ticket aspirant is Prashant Sethi, state secretary of Biju Shramika Samukhya. For a long time, he has been trying to build contacts with cadre at the grassroots with an eye on the party ticket.
Recently, he had organized a meeting at Bhanja Bhawan in Sector-5. He is well known for working for the backward communities and helpless people in the Assembly segment.
Prashant Sethi said, “I have been serving people for last 20 years. If the party wants me to stand as a candidate, I will be ready. It all depends on the party high command.”
The BJP has been trying to broaden its base with a few ticket hopefuls. Jagabandhu Behera, a retired RSP employee and president of the Panposh BJP organizational unit, said he will get a ticket this time. However, some party workers say, the party may field a new candidate like Durga Tanti in the coming polls as party’s top leadership supports him.
After Rourkela MLA Dillip Ray left the BJP, how his supporters will help Jagabandhu remains a question mark.
However, Jagabandhu said, “I have been working to strengthen the party organisation. A lot of things have been done to broaden the party base in the constituency. All voters are with me. I will not forget the cooperation of Union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram. The party will consider me for a party ticket. If I get a ticket, the welfare work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Jual Oram will pave my way to victory.”
The Congress is hopeful of electoral victory in the seat after Biramitrapur MLA George Tirkey joined the party. Tirkey is likely to be Lok Sabha candidate for the Congress, it is said.
General Secretary of Rajgangpur Mazdoor Manch, Gopal Das, is hopeful of a Congress ticket from this Assembly seat with the help of Tirkey if he is chosen for the seat.
Another ticket hopeful is youth leader Gajendra Tanti. He is likely to get a Congress ticket with the blessings of former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal.
Gajendra said that his party has a plan to get votes of the disgruntled party workers with the support of George Tirkey. “As a disciplined party worker, I have been working for the party. I have gained experience from contesting the last elections,” Gajendra said.
Another Congress ticket aspirant Gopal Das said, “If the party deems my candidature suitable, I will contest from this seat in the coming polls.” The number of voters in this Assembly segment is 1,75, 594, including 85,416 women.
2014 poll results
Subrat Tarai (BJD): 48,822
Jagabandhu Behera (BJP): 32,768
Gajendra Tanti (Congress): 14,495